A few years ago, I didn’t really even know what dates were. And by “dates,” I don’t mean the activity, I mean the fruit) Then, when I learned what they are, I kind of thought they were like prunes and primarily eaten by people who had given up on flavor. In the last few years, I’ve gotten smarter! I now not only know what dates are, but I know that I can find local ones at the farmer’s market ALL the time. I’ve even had neighbors who have their own trees. (Side note: I happily and willingly eat both prunes and dates now)
When I don’t get them locally, I know I can always find Medjool dates at Trader Joe’s and my Costco. I typically buy them in bulk since they last forever and tend to be priced better. We use them a lot these days. They make a great natural sweetener, and are awesome in everything from snack bars to trail mix. We even tried an INCREDIBLE ice cream recipe with them this week. All that to say, if you’ve been on the fence about dates… go for it!
These apricot cherry snack bars were a great change of pace. I love cherries and I’ve been trying to find a few more uses for the apricots I have in the pantry. I love that these are free of all 8 of the top allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish). If you do have allergies, be sure you’re buying allergy-friendly chocolate chips. We like and use Enjoy Life semi-sweet morsels or mini-chips. They’re fantastic!
*If you’re looking for unsweetened dried cherries, I’ve found that the Bing cherries at Trader Joes aren’t sweetened. Several online retailers and farmer’s markets also tend to carry them. Most of the time, I cope with what I can find 🙂
For more easy snack ideas:
- Trail Mix for the Week
- Applesauce Snack Combinations
- Strawberry Yo-Nana Smoothies
- Chocolate Cherry Torte Snack Bars
If you’re on Whole30 or avoiding sugar, feel free to skip the chocolate chips. I mostly included them because my kids are more likely to try anything with chocolate chips. Also, look for unsweetened cherries (Bing cherries are most likely to be unsweetened).
- 2/3 cup dates, pits removed
- 2/3 cup dried apricots
- 2/3 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup unsalted (raw or dry roasted) pumpkin seeds (sometimes labeled pepitas)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- 4 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
- pinch salt
- Place everything except chocolate chips (if using) in a food processor. Pulse or blend until the mixture comes together. This will probably take a few minutes–the mixture might look sandy or dry at first, but keep going. It will all eventually lump together 🙂
- Add chocolate chips (if desired) and pulse a few times to combine.
- Use your hands to pat the mixture out into an 8×8″ baking dish lined with parchment paper. Depending on how thick you like your bars, this may not fill the whole baking dish. I like mine on the thicker side, so I didn’t quite fill the whole dish.
- Store covered in the refrigerator and slice into 12 bars or 16 squares as desired.