I have always loved Mediterranean culture. I was Cleopatra VII for Halloween more times than I can count, and in high school I was in a belly dance troupe. I am fascinated by the rich archaeology, the confluence of people and cultures over time, and of course the food. These Mediterranean Date Bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, and they happened pretty accidentally. The recipe is a result of me thinking about making date bars, dreaming about going back to Egypt, and brainstorming flavors and ingredients already in my kitchen.
If you have these 7 ingredients, 10 minutes to prep and an hour to wait for the bars to chill, you can make these. They really are that easy. I had originally planned on adding honey to the mixture because it fit the taste palette and would act as a binder. It turns out that the dates act very well as both a natural sweetener and binder, so honey didn’t make the cut this time.
I absolutely love the play of flavors in these bars. The hazelnuts and sesame seeds give a nice meaty bite while providing energy, the flaxseed pack omega 3’s which act as a mood enhancer, and the freshness of the coconut and zesty orange really lighten everything up.
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, lightly chopped in a blender it food processor
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Zest of one navel orange
- Combine chopped dates, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, flaxseed, coconut, and zest in a medium mixing bowl. You can mix with a wooden spoon, but I think it's easier to just use my hands. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, press down into one layer at the bottom of the bowl, and once flattened, form the sides into a square. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour. Once chilled, you should be able to "peel" the square from the bottom of the bowl quite easily. The large square cuts nicely into six bars. Enjoy before a workout or grab as a quick breakfast!