cooking class: date night!

There were no flowers or chocolates for this week’s date night! But we did have cake, scones, and homemade energy bars during our weekly cooking class.

I love using juicy, caramel-y Medjool dates as a snack or in raw food goodies. This week’s cooking class used these fruit gems in three different recipes, all of which are super easy, delicious, and full of vegan love. The Date Cake was new to me. I found this intriguing recipe on Aayi’s Recipes, and thought that the 600+ commenters could not be wrong!  I did have to make some changes, as the original came out gooey and undercooked (turns out the commenters were wrong, hmmm).  The adapted version, found below, yields a moist and super flavorful cake, cooked all the way through.  The bake time is long, but this is a very wet batter, so trust the timing and let it cool properly. The second recipe is a hearty Banana- Date Scones, adopted from Veganomicon. They are really filling and a bit ‘healthy’ tasting, but great fresh out of the oven. Thirdly, we made some easy raw Maca Energy Bites.  Super simple and healthy, and superfood-infused with the addition of maca, a great energy booster and adaptogen (helps your body work through stress!).

Date Cake with Molasses Pecan Glaze

Super sweet medjool dates make a soft and light cake. The Molasses-Pecan glaze is strongly flavored, but it makes the cake just a bit fancier!.

fresh from the oven, without the glaze + nuts. still sooo pretty and delicious

18 medjool dates, soaked and pitted
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
¾ cup non-dairy milk + 3 tbsp, divided
1 tsp cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp molasses
¾ cup powdered sugar

  1. Soak pitted dates in water for two hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8- 9 inch cake pan (round or square) with parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, toast pecans in a separate pan until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Grind pecans in the processor when cool.
  3. Mix together ¾ cup milk and vinegar; let stand one minute. Add dates, milk + vinegar, brown sugar, and oil to processor and blend until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl mix flours, baking soda, and salt. Add the liquids into the dry and stir until just combined.  Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. To make the glaze, whisk together molasses and powdered sugar. Add 1 tbsp ‘milk’ as necessary to thin. Drizzle glaze on cooled cake just before serving, and sprinkle with crushed pecans.

Date Energy Bars 

Dates are great sources of natural sugars, perfect for after a workout (or just a long day at work!).  If you are not interested in maca, substitute cacao/cocoa, or just leave it out entirely; nutty cinnamon date balls will still be delish.

similar to store-bought Larabars; but infinitely better!

 

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
pinch salt
3 Tbsp maca powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water (more for texture if necessary)

  1. Add nuts and salt into food processor.  Blend until very fine- much like the texture of sand.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients. Blend again, until mixture begins to thicken and stick together inside the processor.
  3. Check the texture by pinching a bit between your fingers; if it is slightly sticky and keeps its shape, it is ready! Add 1 Tbsp more liquid if mixture is too dry.
  4. Pour into a bowl and then shape with your hands into balls (or press into a pan to flatten). Place 1 almond in the center, and store in the fridge.

Yield: About 15, one inch energy balls

Banana Date Scones

This recipe is adapted from Veganomicon, one of my favorite vegan cookbooks. These scones are best fresh from the oven, with some butter or Earth Balance. 

Chunky dates + bananas + whole wheat flour = healthy breakfast snacks. This photo was doctored in iPhoto. The lighting in our demonstration kitchen is so yellow!

 

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup + 2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup non-dairy milk
1 cup mashed (very ripe) banana
1/3 cup coconut oil
¼ cup agave nectar
¾ cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl mix 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour with chopped dates and toss to coat.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl mix together flours, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl whisk flaxseeds with milk; let stand for one minute. Add in mashed banana, oil, and agave and whisk well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined. Batter will be very thick. Gently fold in dates and nuts.
  6. Scoop out 1/3 cup of batter and pat down onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 20-23 minutes, until nicely browned and firm to the touch.

Yield: 12 scones

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