Sarah B. of My New Roots says every bite of her chocolate cherry cookies caused her to “run around [her] kitchen in tiny circles, like a short-circuiting robot on flavour overdrive.” That’s kind of how I feel about these. Except my version went more along the lines of shoving a sticky glob of delicious in my roommate’s face like a crazy, shouting “TRY THIS!”
No oven. Five basic ingredients. Huge, intense flavor. These are amazing. They were a reward to myself because guess what! I did it! I lived through this past week without ingesting one speck of added refined sugar!*
It’s been weird. A week without banana bread, spoons of ice cream, halves torn from cookies straight from the oven. I made it a week, and I feel slightly cleaner. (I suppose it helps that I’ve also been trying to eat clean. We’re talking lentil, carrot and quinoa soup and quinoa cornbread galore.)
The weird thing is that it wasn’t NEARLY as hard as I expected. I curbed a lot of my cravings with homemade Larabars and PB&J crackers, and I started eating oranges from my santa-sized sack after dinner instead of my normal dive into whatever container of sweets are lying around. Willpower: check.
Week two: here I come? I could totally do it if my “no-sugar” challenge allowed limited amounts of natural sweeteners (so I can eat these). I say I can.
I found these while browsing through Rawified after oogling her miles-long list of homemade Larabar flavors. I just couldn’t squash my urge to bake cook make something, so I got out my food processor…
…and five minutes later, was banging down my roommate’s door. These aren’t your traditional fig newtons (which, actually, both my roommate and I admitted we don’t even really like!)—they’re sticky with honey and chewy from ground oats, oozing with a gooey, vanilla-scented date paste. The “cookie” part is incredibly rich with oil-abundant almonds and flax seed and they’re just the best cookie I’ve made all year. But really.
* Well, except for Sunday, when Erik suddenly decided we should have date night and the quirky-chic Italian restaurant gave us free pizza in the bread basket and two plates of biscotti for dessert. Naturally, I ate six. Bite-sized! Biscotti aren’t even that sweet, amirite? And they were free, so like, it doesn’t even count.
And half a bite-sized biscotti last night. But I was up past 12, way past my week night bedtime, and I can’t be blamed for my bad decisions.
Tips: My food processor is kind of dinky and not super strong, so my date paste was on the chunky side. You can make it chunkier or smoother depending on your preference—as long as it’s spreadable.
Substitutions: I used dates instead of figs (hence the “date newton”) and liked the result a lot–feel free to use either. I used unsalted roasted almonds, but you could probably use salted almonds and definitely omit the salt. They might be on the salty side, so try using half salted, half unsalted at the very least if possible. I used instant oats and flax seed meal, but the original recipe called for raw rolled oats and flax seed. Either will work. If you want to add a dash of cinnamon to the dough, I think that would go over quite well.
Nutrition: Here’s the calorie breakdown (You can try this recipe calculator if you want stats on fat, carbs, protein, etc. but it can be inaccurate. All calorie calculations below were calculated using the nutrition facts on the labels.)
½ cup almonds = 320 calories
1 cup dates = 16 dates (Costco brand) = about 320 calories
¼ oats = 75 calories
¼ cup flax = 120 calories
2 tablespoons honey = 130 calories
= 965, if my math’s not mistaken.
So one newton bite = ~60 calories. Put that in your newton and eat it!
Portion size: I find that two of these bite-sized delights, nibbled along with gallons of icy ice water or a hearty glass of almond milk (or, you know hot cocoa) puts me at a level that is not only satisfied but also whoa-I’m-satiated-how-did-two-little-pillows-of-fun-manage-to-make-me-feel-like-I-just-ate-a-vat-of-butter? Okay, not quite, but still. Savor slowly and trust me.
Raw Date Newton Bites
Adapted from Rawified
Yield: 16 bite-sized newtons
1/2 cup almonds, unsalted
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup instant oats (rolled may also work)
tiny pinch salt
2 tablespoon honey
up to 1 tablespoon of milk (I used almond breeze)
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Combine almonds, flax, oats and salt in a food processor and grind until blended. Add the honey and process until the mixture starts to clump. If mixture seems dry, add milk 1/2 tablespoon at a time until the mixture sticks together. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place on a sheet of wax paper. Cover with another sheet of wax paper. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape approximately 1/4″ thick. I cut the rectangle in half at this point and rolled half out thinner, about 4″ by 6″.
Combine the dates and vanilla; process until a spreadable paste emerges. Spread half the paste lengthwise along the rolled out dough. Fold one side of the dough over the date paste and press along the seam to seal. It’s easiest if you handle the dough through the wax paper at this point. Slice into 8 bite-sized chunks. Repeat with other half of dough. Store newtons in an airtight container in the fridge.