Bite the power

For those of us who need a lit­tle sup­port be­tween our three square meals a day, these choco­late chip bites, se­same and green olive bars and brownie en­ergy bites of­fer a pow­er­ful pick-me-up with­out the su­gar rush – and crash

The Guardian - Cook - - The Modern Cook - Anna Jones

I now try al­ways to have a stack of lit­tle bites to hand in the fridge or freezer

Iam some­thing of a snacker. I mar­vel at peo­ple who stop at three meals a day. This past year, thanks to be­com­ing a mother, I have had less time to cook than ever be­fore, but it has been vi­tal that I feed my­self well. In the kitchen, this has put the spot­light on a hand­ful of things that I had never given much thought to be­fore: tray­bake din­ners pre­pared dur­ing a baby nap, meals that can be cooked with one hand, and ready-to-go bites of en­ergy that can perk you up when din­ner seems a long way away.

I use in­gre­di­ents such as nuts, seeds, dates, maple syrup and nut but­ters to make fill­ing lit­tle bites, and now try al­ways to have a stack to hand in the fridge or freezer. It’s a com­fort to know I am never far away from some­thing en­er­gis­ing and home­made.

Both the choco­late chip bites and se­same green olive bars are very sim­ple, re­quir­ing just a lit­tle toast­ing, chop­ping and mix­ing. They also keep well out of the fridge, which makes them per­fect for jour­neys and days out.

The brownie bites take a lit­tle more time (still no real cook­ing), but look more pol­ished – I’d hap­pily serve them to friends for din­ner.

Brownie en­ergy bites with maple pump­kin pra­line (on the cover)

These are half truf­fle and half brownie. I use raw ca­cao pow­der here as I pre­fer its deep, pure choco­late flavour. If you are us­ing the usual dried dates you get packed in rows or bricks as op­posed to fresh ones, then soak them in boil­ing wa­ter for 10 min­utes first.

Makes about 30 bites

200g pecans 100g cashews 4 tbsp raw ca­cao or co­coa pow­der 1 tsp vanilla paste ½ tsp fine salt 175g pit­ted fresh dates or stan­dard dried ones soaked for 10 min­utes 1 tbsp co­conut oil

For the pra­line

50g pump­kin seeds A pinch of salt 1 tbsp maple syrup

For the coat­ing

3 tbsp co­conut oil 2 tbsp raw ca­cao or co­coa pow­der 1 tsp maple syrup

1 In bowl of a food pro­ces­sor, pulse the pecans and cashews un­til you have a rough pow­der. Add the raw ca­cao or co­coa and vanilla pow­ders and salt. Pulse to mix evenly.

2 Add the dates and co­conut oil to the food pro­ces­sor, then blitz, scrap­ing down the sides of the bowl here and there. The dough should ball up, have a glossy ap­pear­ance and come to­gether on your fin­ger. If it’s still a lit­tle pow­dery, add a tea­spoon of wa­ter and blitz again un­til it comes to­gether, but not so it is too sticky and wet.

3 Scoop out the brownie bite mix­ture in heaped tea­spoon-sized por­tions, then roughly roll into balls. Put on to a tray lined with bak­ing pa­per, then chill in the fridge for at least 20 min­utes.

4 Make the pra­line by toast­ing the seeds in a fry­ing pan un­til they smell nutty and start to pop. Add the salt and maple syrup, then toss well. Al­low it to cook for 1 minute, then tip on to a plate. Once cool, roughly chop or blitz in the food pro­ces­sor un­til you have chunky crumbs.

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