Sunday, March 29, 2015

Frozen date and oatmeal energy bars

This unusual version of an ice cream never gets really hard, so these power-packed snack pieces can be eaten straight from the freezer any time.
* Makes about 20 pieces
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup rice, oat, or soy milk, chilled
  • 2 cups unsweetened muesli or granola
  • 4 tbsp. demerara sugar
  • 4 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 4 tbsp. lightly crushed praline

Cook the dates with the orange juice, vanilla, and water to a soft puréed consistency. Set aside until just cooled. Blend in the milk, then put into a freezer container to freeze until firm but spreadable.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Mix the muesli with the sugar, spread out on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes until golden and crunchy. Put into a bowl and mix with the corn syrup. Spread into a 9-inch square or 9 × 12-inch oblong pan or container. Chill until the date mixture is ready.

Spread the date ice over the muesli base, then sprinkle with the crushed praline, and freeze for 1 hour. Cut into fingers or squares and return to the freezer until really firm. These can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to 3 months.

Variations:

  • Frozen date & cornflake bars
Prepare the basic recipe, replacing the muesli with 3 cups lightly crushed cornflakes. Do not cook in the oven, but simply mix with warmed syrup. Continue as described.

  • Frozen fig & oatmeal energy bars
When preparing the basic recipe, replace the dates with figs.

  • Frozen prune & oatmeal energy bars
Prepare the basic recipe but replace the dates with dried pitted prunes.

  • Frozen chestnut energy bars
Prepare the basic recipe, replacing the dates with 2 cups canned chestnut purée (there’s no need to cook it) and adding 2 to 3 tablespoons maple or light corn syrup to sweeten as desired.

  • Frozen pumpkin & oatmeal energy bars
Prepare the basic recipe, replacing the dates with 2 cups canned pumpkin (there’s no need to cook it) and adding 4 tablespoons maple syrup or light corn syrup to sweeten as desired.