It's back to school and time to start thinking about ways to fill those lunch boxes while avoiding all that processed bad for you stuff. My teenaged daughter has been carefully scanning granola and power bars, trying to find vegan friendly alternatives. After this close inspection we were pretty surprised by the inclusion of questionable ingredients and that ever-present high fructose corn syrup in many healthy sounding brands. Granola Bars are unfortunately one of those things we get tricked into thinking are healthy alternatives but are loaded with cheap, cheap sugar. As with everything in the food business, best to make your own!
I saw some inspiring shots on Pinterest for mock Lara bars and thought I could spice them up a bit with cinnamon and cardamon. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices: it's got a spicy sweet flavour that for me, gives everything an exotic twist. It's also rich in vitamins and micronutrients that include vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Even if you don't have to pack lunches - your kids or your own - these bars make great snacks on the go or to give you a quick energy burst after a work out.
Just 4 ingredients: cashews, medjool dates (pitted, obviously), cinnamon & cardamom. Use half a cup of cashews, half a cup of dates to make about 6 bars, or double it if you want more. Adjust spices to your preference but I used about 1/4 teaspoon of each. In future versions we added hemp seeds for some extra protein. Get creative and throw in whatever you want!
Blend the dates with the spices and then blend in the cashews (and then whatever else you want to add). You'll have a lovely sticky blob that you can cover in waxed paper and roll out.
Cut into small bars or squares. These are not only teenager approved, but when I called them "cookies" my three and four year old also gobbled them down. Snack success story!