When I was younger I never understood the saying ‘less is more’. How could a picture be nicer with only a few colours and not the entire rainbow? How is a digestive better than a chocolate, salted caramel digestive? When recipe creating I would try and make every single bake jam packed with different flavours and textures believing that more, equalled a tastier cake. However, nowadays I’ve come to realise that there’s magic in producing profound flavours from a handful of simple, accessible, good quality ingredients.
Think of all the iconic simple treats we return to; victoria sponge, buttery shortbread, brushetta, bread & butter, pancakes with lemon & sugar, roast potatoes, margherita pizza, fruit & yogurt, crumble, porridge, flapjacks, dahl, bananas & custard (a staple at my nursery!) The list and variety is endless and all these foods require only a handful of ingredient’s. What’s more, its the simple recipes that require minimal time and uncomplicated ingredients that I find myself coming back to at the end of long busy days, I’m sure you can all relate to that too.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to spend whole days in the kitchen leisurely creating luxurious, intricate bakes and slow cooked wholesome meals but those moments are precious and rare. During the week I still want to treasure the delicious beauty and nutrition of food just in a fraction of the time.
This recipe is the perfect example, requiring only 3 healthy ingredients which are effortlessly blitzed, squashed & sliced before they’re ready to munch on.
I’ve called these raw cake bars because when the oats get processed they form a fine flour that gives a dense spongey texture to the bars. The dates and peanut butter have a nutty, nougat taste but also remind me of a cross between treacle tart and sticky toffee pudding.
Don’t refrain from making these if you don’t have peanut butter or dates, substitute hazelnut butter for a praline flavour or creamy cashew butter for a white chocolate like taste. No dates? just swap sultanas or raisins.
Great for lunchboxes and perfect grab and go snacks however, I most often find my self enjoying these as a sweet treat after dinner.
- 300g pitted dried dates (or sultanas/raisins)
- 100g oats
- 50g peanut butter ( or any other nut butter)
1. Place the dates in a food processor and blitz till finely minced
2. Add the remaining ingredients and process till the mixture forms a sticky ball. Firmly press the mix into the base of a loaf tin lined with greaseproof. Compact the dough as much as possible as this creates the dense fudgey texture and stops the bars crumbling when cut.
3. Freeze the mixture for 10-15 minutes (perfect time for me to clean the mess I always make in the kitchen!) before slicing into bars. They will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container in the fridge/ a cool dry place. Best served at room temperature.
TIP: Try blasting these in the microwave for 10 seconds, the bars soften leaving you with warm, syrupy bites of goodness!
If you liked this recipe try my middle eastern or apricot & tarragon energy balls. And if you’re a fan of peanut butter YOU HAVE TO check out these peanut butter, banana brownies, which are a favourite with my sceptical, non-vegan brother!