Gold-plated bird food

No, this isn’t some post about the latest pointless trend of the rich and famous.

It’s about making a virtue out of a necessity, emphasising the positive and refusing to believe that something that’s good for you has to be dull and tasteless. Good can be good.

This is a recipe for a fruit, nut and seed bar. See what I mean? If I’d called it that, you’d have moved briskly on to something a bit more interesting. But I have to tell you, it’s gorgeous. Delicious, chewy, sweet without being sickly and lavishly topped with dark chocolate. It’s incidentally also gluten and dairy free. It’s grain free. It’s almost raw: I toasted some seeds and heated the chocolate to melt it, but the bar itself has not been baked. It’s actually good for you, but pretend I didn’t tell you that. Look, it’s dead easy, give it a go why don’t you? And then tell me it’s not absolutely yummy.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 11.30.59 am

1 cup of lightly toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1½ cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
½ cup chunky peanut butter
¼ cup runny honey
2/3 cup almond meal
½ cup moist coconut flakes

Topping:
200g dark dairy free chocolate (I used Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana)
2 tblsp dairy free margarine (I used Nuttelex Sunflower)

Line a 22cm/9″ square brownie pan with greaseproof paper.

If your pepitas are untoasted when you buy them, toast them lightly in a frying pan or in the oven for a few minutes. You can used them untoasted, but the flavour is improved by the toasting. Put all the bar ingredients into a processor and pulse till everything is blended and a sticky dough is formed. Press the dough into the paper lined pan and put into the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up. Overnight is good if you can wait that long… Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a shallow bowl with the margarine. Microwave on full power for 30 seconds at a time, for a total of 1½ minutes. Stir gently for several minutes to integrate the margarine into the melted chocolate till smooth and glossy. Quickly pour onto the hardened bar, and spread out, giving the top a ripply finish. Return to the fridge to harden up. Once the chocolate’s hardened, remove from the pan by lifting with the lining paper. Cut into bars.

Eat one, and develop a whole new opinion of ‘bird food’….

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30 thoughts on “Gold-plated bird food

  1. EllaDee says:

    Looks delicious and I bet bite for bite is cheaper than a different sort of “gold-plated” health food I bought this afternoon… At lunch time I was given a sampler from Iku of a Wow Cacao ball, it was a bit rich and sweet for me and so I thought perfect for the G.O.! so I bought one, $4… so only one. If he likes it, I’ll make him some or try him on your version 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      I costed it for my GF Bakery business, as I’m getting asked for dairy free stuff too now. Total cost of ingredients $12.21 for about 9 portions, or about $1.35 each! And that’s with good quality eating chocolate rather than commercial compound chocolate which has lots of fat in it. These bars are sort of nutty and toasted and honeyish in flavour, very moreish.

      • EllaDee says:

        $1.35 per portion plus your time makes $4 each retail sound reasonable… for a one off, but they sound so good that wouldn’t happen… $12 for good ingredients is doable.

  2. looks delicious 🙂 Oh, why thank you, don’t mind if I do……[munching sounds]

  3. tialys says:

    I thought it was going to be some concoction I could hang out for the birds until I saw the chocolate!
    It looks and sounds great and I will add it to my list of your recipes to try. Although, again, all that sticky stuff sounds like something my blender will taken objection to – and I do have a good one.
    By the way, I confess I had to look up what ‘pepites’ are. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard pumpkin seeds called that before. So, an educational post too, merci!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s not a heavy mixture; the ground almonds and seeds help to lighten it, so hopefully your blender won’t throw a fit. Pumpkin seeds are always referred to and sold as Pepitas here in Australia, don’t know why, and calling them that comes naturally now.

  4. Kirsten says:

    Looks and sounds yummy. I’ll replace the margarine with coconut oil, but I shall be giving these a go!

    • katechiconi says:

      That should work nicely. I’d use coconut oil too, but the nice stuff is so much more expensive than margarine, and I have to make these commercially viable… I’m wondering how soon I can make them again without appearing totally piggy. I’m considering maple syrup instead of honey, too, I think the flavour would be complementary – but again, there’s the cost issue.

  5. I love Whittakers chocolate. I would buy it, eat it and then never get around to the recipe.

    • katechiconi says:

      Me too, but I found the best way of dealing with that was to buy it just before I had to use it, and then have just one square before I dumped it in the microwave. Good quality dark chocolate is the key to this recipe.

  6. Carole says:

    That looks good, although I had to Google pepitas too. I’d probably use Coconut oil instead of margarine, like one of the other commenters, and also sub almond butter for peanut butter.
    I’d have to be careful to buy just the right amount of Green & Black’s (dark choccy) as otherwise I’d just scoff the rest of it 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      …it’s a common problem. I think the subs would work fine. I’m considering adding sultanas or chopped apricots another time, but I do have a sweet tooth. They’re not at all necessary.

  7. dayphoto says:

    It looks good! Delicious health food always seems to have a terribly high price tag attached….making our own is a good thing.

    Linda ❤⊱彡
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com
    https://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/sherlock-boomer

  8. This I must try. I have a 20 pound box of dates from the Mid-East market just asking to become part of this recipe.

    • katechiconi says:

      Oooh, date-envy. One of my favourite snacks for a sugar hit! Do try the recipe, it’s amazingly simple and forgiving of all sorts of ingredient substitutions. The only thing you can’t skimp on is time in the fridge to harden up enough so it doesn’t crumble when you cut it…

  9. Conor Bofin says:

    Love it. I need to eat this as much as I need to not eat this, if you know what I mean.

  10. Jen Gardener says:

    Mmm, that looks like my kind of snack!

  11. […] seen this before, only last time it had chocolate on it. That’s a no-no for this purpose (think melted […]

  12. […] idea for these little snacks came from Kate. She posted something similar in bar form and because I can hardly ever leave a recipe alone, I wanted to put my own stamp on it. And form […]

  13. cheergerm says:

    I will definitely give it a whirl, I did a similar thing with cornflakes, dates and chocolate on top but the Yaklets still weren’t fans. (Always a tad frustrating!) However, if I pulverise the seeds and dates quite finely, I may get this one past them. Thanks! 😁

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