With great enthusiasm I set out one morning to make Build-Your-Own-Energy-Bars, courtesy of Amber Shea Crawley and her cookbook, Practically Raw. I knew I could bang out a batch of bars, pop them in the freezer and have them ready for our daily 3 pm snack. Easy. I gathered the ingredients and pulled out the food processor and away I went. But something went wrong. The mixture was not really a mixture. There was no way it was going to stick together to create bars. I stared into the processor as if the answer were in the pile of pretty crumbs. I looked around the kitchen. What could I do to rescue this recipe? I didn’t want to add maple syrup – no way it needed any sweetening. Peanut butter? As much as I love it, it would not work here. Sesame seeds…sesame seeds…tahini! I plopped a big ol’ spoonful into the processor and whirled again.
Same deal. When I poured the mixture into a pan prior to freezing it, prod and shove as I could, the mixture was not coming together as beautifully as in Amber’s photo. I referred to the directions and immediately saw what I’d done wrong. I hadn’t actually read the directions. I’d just taken it upon myself to toss all of the ingredients into the processor without noticing that, yes, there were a few steps to follow. Simple, but important, steps. Deciding to continue anyway, I put the mixture in the freezer and a few hours later pulled it out to see if anything magical had happened behind closed doors. Naw. Still crumbly. But it passed the taste-test with flying colors. Inspiration hit the next morning: topping for our daily grain cereal! It’s absolutely delicious. We ate the first batch up so quickly, I’ve already repeated my mistake. (Scroll down for other ways to use this “crumble.”)
Please visit Amber at her blog, AlmostVeganChef.com. She’s a graduate of the Matthew Kenney Academy – a raw/living foods culinary school right here in Oklahoma. I know – Oklahoma! – where there are BBQ joints on every corner of every city, in all of the gas stations and in every sleepy, single-intersection town in the state. The Matthew Kenney restaurant in Oklahoma City is fantastic (and I hope to be eating there later this week!) and a real refuge to us plant-based types. Anyway, Amber’s book, Practically Raw, has really helped me incorporate more raw foods into my diet. The recipes are delicious, creative and flexible – especially helpful if you’re just starting out with this type of cuisine.
Date, Cherry, Walnut & Ginger Crumble
3/4 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. crystallized ginger
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 heaping tbsp. tahini
pinch kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whirl until the mixture is a bit chunky, but uniform.