amaranth almond date bars with carob

17th February 2016

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The sun is shining!  I got to open the door to welcome breezes and beautiful silent visitors.

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These are lovely, chewy decadent bars, for a special treat that everyone loves after a hard day’s work.

Goji berries are earthy, slightly astringent and mildly sweet.  Known to be abundant in antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.  Amaranth has a sweet, nutty flavour and is exceptionally high in protein and calcium.  Which makes these quite the ‘superfood bar’!

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amaranth almond date bars with carob

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square

Inspiration & Recipe slightly adapted from here.

‘If popping your own amaranth feels a little challenging, you can purchase it already popped/puffed or if amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.  The goji berries can be replaced with dried raspberries, sultanas, or any dried fruit of choice.’

ingredients for the amaranth bars:

1 cup popped amaranth

100 grams pitted, soft medjool dates(about 5 large dates)

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted

½ cup almond butter, store-bought or home-made

pinch salt

zest from 1 large lemon

1 ½ tsp freshly grated ginger

2 Tblsp coconut flakes

3 Tblsp finely chopped almonds

3 Tblsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 Tblsp (for garnishing)

1 Tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnishing)

for the carob coating:

2 Tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup carob powder

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla essence(optional)

popping the amaranth:

Directions from ‘At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen’

‘Popping amaranth seems challenging at first, so if you burn your first batch, which I did, and the second, but by the third I got the hang of it.  It’s easy and fun.  Once you get the temperature of the pan correct, the popping happens fast (in about 15 seconds).  You need to remove the popped grain from the pot immediately to avoid burning.’

makes about 1 cup

¼ cup amaranth

Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover pot immediately.  Count 5 seconds and shake pan; You will hear the grain popping rapidly.  Shake again, or until all the grains are popped.   I could never get all the grains to pop, but this is no problem, as even the unpopped grains are crunchy.  Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Set aside.

to make the amaranth bars:

Line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper.

Remove the seed from the dates and measure out 100 grams.  Place them in a bowl and mash with a fork.  If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash.  Add the melted coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes.  Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork, until combined.  Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tablespoons of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly.  The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.

Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish, until completely even and flat.  Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.

to make the carob coating :

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat. Add the maple syrup and carob powder. Mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth. Stir in the vanilla essence and set aside.

Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice.  Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour, until cold and firm.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.  The bars will keep up to 2 weeks, probably longer if they last that long.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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