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
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.