This recipe was one of my first forays into raw and vegan sweets. The ingredients read like a who’s who of health foods but the result is a rich and nutty chocolate muesli bar that makes a great afternoon snack when you’re craving something sweet. I don’t usually use the fact they are raw and vegan to persuade people to eat some, there seem to be a lot of misconceptions that these kinds of food are bland or missing out on something. Does it taste like something crammed full of butter and flour? No, it doesn’t. It tastes like nuts, dates and chocolate but if you appreciate those flavours for what they are, then you will most likely enjoy them.
I always use Chinese red dates that I pick up from a health food store in West End because they LITERALLY taste like caramel. I’m not being dramatic, they actually taste like a chewy caramel. During one dark chapter of my life my regular supply ran out but I tracked them down online at Charlesworth Nuts (they only ship to Australia, sorry everybody else!). I bought 3 kg to make the shipping worth it so I’m set up for a good long while.
I advise chopping the dates roughly simply for the fact that they are usually machine pitted and there can be splinters of the seed left behind. The first time I made this slice I wasn’t aware of that fun fact and ended up crunching on at least five different pieces of date seed (I was at least thankful that no one else managed to get any!). If you feel a CRUNCH as you’re chopping simply remove the offending seed and keep on slicing. When trying to flatten the mixture into the slice tin, if you find it too sticky then lay a piece of cling film over the top of it, this acts as a barrier between the sticky mixture and your spoon allowing you to get it into a nice even layer. The chia seeds and psyllium husk can be considered extras, I add them because I have them so don’t go out buying them unless you think that you will use them regularly.
Raw Date and Nut Slice
1 cup rolled oats
pinch of sea salt
1 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp psyllium husk
2 cups dried dates, chopped
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
natural sweetener to taste (I used coconut nectar)
Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with water, allow to soak for 3-4 hours.
Line a slice tin with baking paper.
Blitz the oats and salt in a food processor until they turn into a coarse flour, add the drained almonds, chia seeds and psyllium husk, process until the nuts are finely chopped.
Add the cacao and dates, pulse until the dates are broken down and the mixture starts to clump together.
Add the coconut oil and start by adding 1 tsp of natural sweetener, pulsing to mix, then adding more sweetener until it reaches desired taste.
Pinch the mixture and if it sticks together it’s ready, if not, add more coconut oil 1 tsp at a time, pulsing in between, until the mixture sticks together.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared slice tin and press flat with the back of a spoon.
Place in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, then slice into bars.