Raw Date Squares

Raw Date Squares

Details

Dates, almonds, banana, cacao nibs and shredded coconut are the main ingredients in these delicious squares which also happen to be gluten- and dairy-free.
  • Serves: 8 to 10
  • Active Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Views: 11,796
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog
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Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Date Squares

• 1 1/2 cup almonds**
• 1 cup fresh dates, pitted*
• 1/2 cup cacao nibs***
• 1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
• 1 banana, peeled and cut into pieces
• Fleur de sel or other quality salt (to taste)

Method

*Note: Dried dates can be used if you cannot find fresh dates, but If using dried dates, soak before using. Place the dates in either hot water or orange juice for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain before using.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until very fine., Note: Cashews or other nuts also work well in this recipe. You can also use a mix of half almonds and half cashew nuts. The cashew nuts give the mixture a slightly softer texture.
If using, add the nibs and pulse a few times. *
Note: A few tablespoons of cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate chunks can be used instead of the cacao nibs, but the cacao nibs do add a nice crunch to these delicious power bars.

Scrape the nuts from the food processor into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add the pitted dates to the food processor and process to a paste. Add the banana and vanilla (almond extract also works well with this recipe). and pulse a few times to blend everything together.

Scrape the date mixture into the nuts. If desired, add a pinch of a good quality salt, such as fleur de sel. This gives a nice contrast of salty and sweet. Mix to blend well.

Step 2: Forming and Serving the Date Squares

• 1/2 cup (approx.) dried shredded coconut

Method

Sprinkle the bottom of a small baking pan with a thin layer of the coconut. You will probably use about half of the coconut.

Using a spatula, gently place the date mixture over the coconut by the spoonful. Gently spread the mixture evenly over the coconut. You may find it easier to use your hands to do this. The mixture is easier to spread if your hands are cold and even slightly wet.

Sprinkle the top with an even coating of the remaining coconut, lightly pressing down to help it stick.

Transfer to the refrigerator or freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up. This makes the bars easier to cut. These date squares are equally good served cold or at room temperature.

When firm, cut into pieces and serve or wrap individually in plastic wrap and store, airtight, frozen.

Chef's Notes

These date squares freeze very well. You may want to make a double batch, as they seem to disappear quickly. I like to take one with me to eat after a run since they are a great source of energy.

6 Comments

  • Bonnie D
    Bonnie D
    I can't believe I had not commented on these bars when I first made them last summer. These are fabulous! The crunch of the cocoa nibs gives them a unique flavor and texture. A friend asked if you could sub another fruit for the banana.. I think you could sub any other fruit past like apricot, pear, mango....and they would still be excellent. You could roll the mixture into truffle balls and roll in unsweetened coconut too. Oh yes, these are good!
  • Olivia B
    Olivia B
    This looks like such a yummy recipe but I was wondering if I can use overripe bananas rather than just nicely ripe ones? I wasn't sure how it would affect the taste or texture. Thanks!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    I have not yet tried this recipe using overripe bananas, but it's quite possible that it would work. The texture might just be softer and the taste sweeter. You could always try it and see how it turns out — you may need to add a bit of extra coconut to make up for the extra moisture in the bananas. That being said, I really like the dates square when made with just ripe bananas as I like a dessert/treat that is not too sweet. Let us know how it goes. Cheers!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    You can certainly give it a try... of course the dish will take on the strong flavor of the over-ripe banana and it will be less firm - but otherwise you can adjust as needed.
  • Liz K
    Liz K
    I just made these for my fam + bringing dessert to a girlfriends. The are super easy to make and so far my husband + son love them!
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Liz, thanks so much for your commentary! I think they are a wonderful treat, too!

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