Filled with the goodness of seeds and nuts on a smooth date base, these protein date bars are delicious and great as breakfast bars, healthy treats, snack, and a thoughtful gift. We call them all-in date bars! The bars are made raw with a mix of nuts, seeds, and dates.
Nuts and seeds are an important source of protein and healthy fats. Since we follow a largely vegetarian diet, our usual snack is a serving of mixed nuts and seeds. Both of us keep a box of mixed nuts, dates and also a smaller bottle of seeds close to our workstations.
Granola bars have been there since ages, they are convenient too, but since we didn’t want to add any grain to our snack, we stayed away from them. A few months ago, we found these nakd date bars in the market, which were 90% compressed dates with different flavors like pecans, cocoa, blueberries, etc. For a few weeks, we enjoyed them a lot. every week I would buy a dozen of them for the week. Soon the individual packaging of the shop bought date bars and the fact that they were coming from the UK so the carbon footprint of the bars started troubling us.
That’s when Sikander said, “we should be able to make these date bars at home.” First, we thought we won’t be able to compress the dates as tightly as they are in commercial date bars. We have a regular food processor, so another concern was if we would be able to crush the dates to a dough like structure. There was a little experimentation too… In the first batch, we ground the dates and nuts separately and then mixed them. As a result, the nuts were almost powdered but we wanted a bite of the nuts in the bars. Also while processing the dates alone, they tended to stick under the blade making it difficult to crush them and also difficult to remove them. Processing dates and nuts together solve both the issues!
This holiday season, we were traveling to meet our family and friends in the US and we took our homemade date bars and homemade granola as gifts. We could carry only so much but then what was fun was making these bars, and granola, and cookies with the kids at almost every home. The date bars dough is almost like play dough! You can add any flavors you want — cinnamon, coconut, chocolate, peanut butter! You name it 🙂 The most popular one in this season was cinnamon even with the kids.
This recipe is actually written by my nephew who wanted to save it for making it again and I asked him to send it to me. It was interesting to read what elements the “Millennials” need in a recipe, especially the “tools needed” section. I have to say, it’s pretty relevant too and I am thinking I should probably include it in my recipes from now onwards.
How to make raw nuts and date bars at home?
Ingredients for homemade date bars
- Dates: Use any regular pitted dates that you find in your region. Not the dried dates of course. Pitted dates makes it easier else it would be a tedious task to remove seeds from all the dates. At some places, you might even find crushed dates.
- Cranberries: Add about ¼th times dates. Dried unsweetened cranberries cut the sweetness of the date bars. Dates and cranberries together form the base of the bar.
- Nuts: Use a mix of different nuts of your choice. Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, macademia nuts all go well in the date bars.
- Seeds: Add a mix of different seeds — chia, hemp, flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower etc.
- Optional add-ons: As an extra add-on for seasoning you can add some spices like cinnamon or all-spice or cocoa. If you take protein powder, you can add that too to the date bars.
Tools needed for making date bars
- Basic utensils (spoons, knives, mixing bowls)
- Measuring Cups
- Food processor
- Spice Grinder
- Baking Trays
- Parchment Paper
Instructions for making date bars at home
Making date bars at home is super easy and fun. There is absolutely no cooking involved and it is just a game of crushing, mixing, and setting.
- Crush: and grind the dates, cranberries, nuts, and seeds.
- Mix: them all together to make a dough.
- Set: Pack the date bars “dough” in a tray and set in the fridge. Cut, store, and enjoy!
If you like this recipe, please take a moment to rate it and/or leave your feedback in comments. It will really encourage me to keep exploring, learning and improving.
Homemade Date Bars
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 4 cups dates pitted
- 1 cup dried cranberries unsweetened
1¼ cup mixed seeds [¼ cup each of chia, hemp, flax, pumpkin, & sunflower seeds]
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup flaxseeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 cups mixed nuts [ ½ cup each of pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, & cashew]
- ½ cup pecan halves
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup cashews
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon , optional
- ¼ cup Chocolate chips , optional
- 2 tbsp peanut butter , optional
- 2 tsp cocoa powder , optional
- Combine all nuts in one bowl. Keep aside.
- Combine all seeds in one bowl. Take small portions and grind them to a powder using a spice grinder or coffee grinder. Repeat until all the seeds are ground.
- Add 2 cups of dates, half the nuts and half the cranberries to the food processor. (Adjust the quantity depending on your mixer capacity.)
- Process until mixture resembles the form of cookie dough, with very small pieces of nuts showing. You would need to stop in between, scrape down the sides and process again. You should be able to form balls with the date bar “dough”.
- Take out the mixture onto baking tray.
- Repeat steps 3-5 until all ingredients used above are finished.
- Add the ground seeds mixture to the baking tray with the date dough.
- Knead and mix until the date mixture and seeds powder are well mixed.
- For regular date bars, spread the dough evenly onto the baking tray and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
For flavoured date bars, divide the dough into three parts to form three different types of bars.
- In one part, add cinnamon powder and mix together until cinnamon is well mixed in the dough.
- In another, add ¼ cup chopped chocolate chips and knead well. In the third add cocoa powder and mix well.
- Take all three and press them into the trays into a rectangle/ square shape.
- In the cocoa date bar chunk, spread peanut butter on top
- Put trays into fridge overnight.
- Take them out, cut into bars, and enjoy!
- Bars should be stored in the fridge if not consumed. They will keep well for up to a month.
- Place parchment paper in-between bars when storing them or wrap them in parchment paper to take with you.
- Nutritional info is the approximate information for 1 regular size date bar without the optional ingredients.
These homemade date bars are great as Christmas gifts. Make them in different flavors, wrap in parchment paper and tie with a little twig. Check out more homemade Christmas food gifts in my round up post:
Connect with me
If you try this recipe or if you have more homemade date bar recipes to share, I would really love to know. Tag your picture with #weekendkitchen on instagram or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest. Or join our newest journey into Recipe Videos.
Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.
That’s a great recipe Ashima, thank you!
I was also wondering of alternatives to cranberries, something indigenous to us in India. Maybe dried figs..what do you think?
Also I like munching on the seeds too, so prefer to keep it coarsely ground.
Cranberries being a bit sour balance the sweetness of dates in the bars while still adding to the thick and smooth base for all the nuts and seeds to come together. Dried figs would work too and also dried apricots. Raisins, on the other hand, will add in too much sweetness.
One of the main reasons why we ground the seeds is for the chia seeds. They otherwise stick in between the teeth 🙂
I’ve never been a huge fan of dates on their own, but I can really get stuck into a good date bar! 🙂 I love the idea of adding choc chips or peanut butter – sounds delicious.
You can actually make these date bars as apricot and fig bars too using dried apricots or figs in place of dates. Hope you do make and enjoy them with different flavors!
Very nice recipe.
A great recipe and valuable hints and tricks!! My family loves the bars. When I made them a second time, I added lemon zest to part of the dough…. and Woooooow. Thank you for the inspiration
Lemon zest! That sounds like a great idea 🙂 I never thought about it! Thanks, Martina! This weekend we are definitely going to add lemon zest to our weekly batch! 🙂 and now you are making me think about orange zest too.
I love the flexibility of this recipe!! Thanks for all the great options you listed. Can’t wait to try them
See too, Sarah!!!
I love how I can easily make multiple flavors in one go! Looking forward to your feedback and suggestions when you try it!
Would love to see video of how it is made . Does anyone have them
Thank you for your suggestion. I don’t have a video of it right now… in fact I haven’t really figured out a way to manage video making effectively 😮
Very healthy and yummy