Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cardamom Oat Bars!

It's no secret that I love well-spiced anything as long as it's vegan! Lately my favorite smoothie has been a creamy treat made of raw coconut, dates, spinach, and a heaping spoonful of freshly ground cardamom.  (Thanks Naturewell!) Inspired by this new favorite treat, and my recent increase in appetite due to daily yoga and long-distance cycling, I decided to make a sweet post-workout treat in the form of these chewy not-quite cookies and not-quite granola bars. Cut the bars the small, like 3 bites small so you can enjoy one batch all week!

Cardamom is an amazing spice, not just because of it's ability to make savory dishes earthy and complex and sweets aromatic, but because it's an incredible detoxifier, that supports digestion and soothes the stomach. In Ayurveda cardamom is used to balance all three doshas (not many foods are considered this balancing!) and who doesn't need a little help to feel more balanced? These bars also contain almonds and dates, hemp and flax seeds, and organic coconut-- all great sources of heart healthy fats and fiber.

Make these as an afternoon treat and let me know what you think! They're nice with a mild tea (lemongrass and mint perhaps?) or big glass of frosty cold almond milk on the side.

Cardamom Oat Bars (Makes 12 2" bars)
1 1/3 cups organic rolled oats
1/6 cup ground flax seed
1/6 cup ground hemp seed
1/3 cup organic almond meal
1/3 cup + 2 T organic, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chopped raw organic almonds (chop them using a heavy knife, not in the food processor for more crunch in the bars)
6 organic noor dates, finely chopped
1.5 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup organic maple syrup
1/3 cup organic almond butter
1/4 cup organic unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
1 teaspoon high quality vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a small baking dish with a parchment paper sling so that you can easily slide the finished bars our of the dish.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, ground flax and hemp, almond meal, coconut, almonds, cardamom, and salt. Once well combined, work the chopped dates in until they are evenly distributed in the dry mixture.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. Pour into the dry and work the mixture until it is sticky, but not wet and all ingredients are well-combined and evenly distributed. Press the mixture into the lined baking dish so that it is an even 1/2" thick and shape the edges with a spatula or your fingers so that the dough forms a neat rectangle that doesn't quite touch the edges of the dish. Score the top of the uncooked bars to make them easier to cut when they are done baking and bake them at 350 for thirty minutes.

Allow the bars to cool completely on a baking rack before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, if they last that long!

In other news, I'm working on launching a supper club in Los Angeles that will combine my love of music, literature, art, and vegan food! Stay tuned for news, and beware that I'll be moving this blog to very, very soon.