Zero-Baking-Required

Naked Bars were the inspiration for this recipe, and also for my entry into the wonderful Maison Cupcake’s Zero Baking required challenge. In a bid to save some packaging and some money I am intrigued to see if I can make a tasty homemade alternative. At the same time the lovely Lucy at @FreckleForest introduced me to the incredible www.pimpthatsnack.com which showcases supersized handmade versions of popular snacks and chocolate bars (and provides the inspiration for the title of this post). While I don’t intend to compete on size, I am interested to see whether I can match taste, and dare I say it, improve on looks :)

My first experiment has been inspired by the Naked Pecan Pie bar:

According to the wrapper, this is made from:

  • 52% dates (I started with 2 cups)
  • 28% pecan nuts (I went for 1 cup / 100g)
  • 20% almonds (1 cup / 100g)

I tried making these in 3 different ways:

  1. Whizz everything up together at the same time
  2. Whizz up the nuts first until small and then add dates
  3. Soak the nuts, whizz the nuts up, and then add dates

They were all very respectable in taste and it was really texture that changed. The 1st (throwing everything in) had the most texture with larger pieces of nuts, and the 2nd more refined nuts, and the 3rd the finest and perhaps the closest to the original bar. None of them were as combined as the original Naked Bar – but this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, in my oh so humble opinion!

The instructions below are for the 3rd option which is the one I prepared to take in to the office for the taste test. [Note] However Option 2 was my preferred texture as it was slightly firmer and didn’t need so long in the fridge. 

Measure out 2 cups of nuts and soak for 6 hours. Add to food processor:

And whizz until fine:

Ending up looking like fine breadcrumbs:

Add 2 cups of dates (equal in volume to the nuts):

And whizz until you end up with a mixture a bit like cookie dough (this was a tough one for my 20 year old processor and I had to stop and push the mixture around a bit to keep things moving):

Then roll into walnut sized balls using your hands:

Finally roll in sesame seeds and place in the fridge for a few hours to firm up:

Although they are certainly not the most beautiful looking things, they are certainly tasty and have replaced my chocolate button habit in recent weeks while I have been experimenting. From a cost saving point of view, they cost between £5 – £6 to make (the nuts are not cheap but can almost certainly be sourced more cheaply – Waitrose is not traditionally known for being thrift friendly).  They made 16 walnut sized balls – my guess is that 2 would be equivalent to the original 35g bar… So no major cost saving but certainly a sense of satisfaction in making them chez moi….

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