[Post #55 for 365 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Happiness is your 9-year-old finally trying a whole date at vacation bible school and declaring that he loves them.
“Really, Mommy, they are SO good! They taste just like caramel!”
When he asked if I could buy some, I told him to open the pantry and look on the second shelf.
We always have them. I’ve been secreting them into his food his entire life, despite his outright rejection of plain, whole dates. But it made all of the difference for him to discover them on his own while learning about the life of Joseph.
Nick’s comment about the dates tasting like caramel prompted today’s post, a no-bake homage to Girl Scout cookies. Specifically, caramel delights.
No baking, no fussy procedures and no artificial ingredients, these energy pucks get their caramel flavor from–you guessed it–luscious dates. Unlike real caramel, however, dates are a a fantastic energy food. They are a good source of of fiber and include a host of essential minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc) and vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K).
A double helping of coconut (unsweetened coconut flakes and coconut flour) offer another signature flavor of caramel delights, but again, with a score of benefits, such as healthy coconut oil from the flakes and fiber from both. Almonds and chocolate clinch the deal with more great flavor as well as vitamin E (almonds), antioxidants (the cacao nibs), and yet more fiber from both. In short, these treats are more than worthy of their superfood moniker.
I’m not the only one who thinks they taste utterly amazing workout fuel. A certain little boy has had these in his lunchbox all week during baseball camp (powered by pucks!). Thanks to bible school the week prior, he’s now enlightened about what makes them so caramel-y delicious!
Happy eats, everyone, and stay cool!
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1-1/4 cups rolled oats (certified GF as needed)
- ½ cup whole almonds
- ⅓ cup unsweetened flake coconut
- ¼ cup cacao nibs
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips, melted
- Grease or spray 9 cups in a standard muffin tin.
- Place the dates in a small bowl; cover with hot (not boiling) water to just cover. Let stand for 10 minutes; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons soaking water.
- In a food processor, process the oats, almonds and coconut into a fine powder. Transfer to a a bowl. Place drained dates in food processor; process into a paste, scraping down bowl as needed. Add oat mixture back to bowl, along with cacao nibs, salt and reserved soaking liquid. Process until well blended, stopping to scrape down bowl several times. Add 2 tablespoons coconut flour; process to combine. If mixture is still fairly moist, add the remaining coconut flour.
- Scrape dough from processor and divide into 9 equal portions; Roll each int a ball and press into prepared cups, flattening tops. Drizzle tops with melted chocolate. Refrigerate at least hour before removing from cups.