In the afternoon, I like to have a small snack, a mid-day energy boost to go along with a cup of green tea. Of course, as you might imagine, the perfect snack for the job is the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, but variety is good too. Before the holidays, I had ordered a bunch of nuts, seeds and dried fruit from Prana. Now and then, I’d reach into the pantry and try to decide which I would eat for a snack. I wanted all of them, but opening all those jars… no time for that!
I had enjoyed Larabars, but found them a bit large for that mid-day boost when I just want a small bite. Plus, they are rather pricey. Besides, I had a pantry full of yummy nuts and fruit; there had to be a way to use them up!
So, I had an idea! Why not pack them into mini muffin cups? I searched the Internet for ideas, and finally came up with this recipe. Just to make sure I wasn’t biased in my conclusion, I rounded up some volunteer taste-testers, and all agreed… these are awesome! I will no doubt experiment with other combinations of nuts and fruit and also spices, maybe a carrot-cake spice flavour, but for now, these are perfect.
For those who are not familiar with cardamom, I described it to one of my volunteers (who by then had scarfed 3 of them!) as falling somewhere between vanilla and heaven. I love it, while some don’t care for it, but I think it adds a certain heavenly flavour to these snacks.
Note that some nuts will be more oily than others. My mom included walnuts in a batch and found that some of the nut oil dripped through the paper cups. Perhaps the addition of a spoonful of ground oats might help absorb the oil. As much as I love my carrot cake, the idea was to have a flour/grain-free snack. Ah, more R&D needed… my poor volunteer taste-testers!
The chia and hemp seeds might be optional; feel free to try the recipe without them. This is the recipe I used and I liked the results.
At first, it may not appear as though the crumbled ingredients will hold together, but they do hold their shape once packed into the mini-muffin moulds. This recipe makes 12, well-packed mini muffins. The perfect mid-afternoon snack!
- 1 cup dates, pitted, chopped
- ½ cup mixed dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, raisins)
- ¾ cup mixed nuts & seeds (almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Pinch of salt
- Makes 12 mini cups.
- Grind nuts and seeds in food processor or hi-speed blender. Set aside.
- Process dates, dried fruit, peanut butter and vanilla in food processor until well chopped. This may take a bit of time.
- Add ground nuts, seeds and coconut; and process until well mixed.
- Pack into mini muffin paper liners, or directly into the mini muffin tin.
- Refrigerate to firm up.