Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lemon Cashew Nectar Bars

Huzzah! Third try was the charm! Yes, this is my third attempt in just about as many years to try replicating Cliff's Lemon Cashew Nectar Bars. I'd had great luck in making a nice version of the Cocoa Nectar Bars, but my other favorite was a sticky mess. The stumbling block in attempts one and two? The lack of a good lemon concentrate. I tried lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon oil...all no-go's. Enter True Lemon. A crystallized lemon product for mixing into water or whatever else you've a mind to mix it into (I tossed some onto peaches I'd cut up to go into bran muffins the other day). My mom brought me 3 little envelopes to try...she's the one that finally came up with this solution. Today was the day to try again.
I bought myself some beauteous medjool dates from Costco, some raw cashews and some goji berries from the bulk section of the grocery store, all that remained was the True Lemon and a touch of vanilla. After processing, the resulting mix was very sticky and I ended up having to cheat a bit by putting some cornstarch on both the rolling mat and my hands. Otherwise this whole experiment would have gone nowhere. Again. I'm guessing that you could use arrowroot if you've got a problem with cornstarch. You'll likely have to use something, or the mass will be impossible to roll and shape.
I'm open to any alternative de-stickifying suggestions if anyone out there has any :-)

Lemon Cashew Nectar Bars:
(Inspired by Cliff Nectar Bar ingredient label)

1 cup pitted medjool dates
a generous 1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
~2 Tbs goji berries
3 envelopes True Lemon
~1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cornstarch as needed

Put about 1/2 of the cashews into a food processor and chop finely, but not to the point that they get oily. Remove and set aside on a sheet of wax paper.
Chop the remaining cashews by hand for more texture, and place with others on wax paper.
Chop goji berries roughly (in half), add to the nuts.
Place pitted dates into food processor and chop. This will end up a gooey mess, just do the best you can.
Spread date goo on top of your bed of nuts and gojis. If you sprinkle some on top, of the dates along with having some on the bottom of the mass it's less likely to stick right away.
Sprinkle True Lemon and vanilla over the top and start to incorporate all as best you can.
This is where the cornstarch came in really handy. I sparingly put some on my hands and some on the wax paper and rolled the date mass into a log that was about 3/4" thick. Cut that piece into 6 lengths. Flatten each piece into a bar, then wrap individually in clean pieces of wax paper for storing. I put them in a ziplock container to store for the Monster's lunches/snacks.

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