Cookies that play nice in the sandbox

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OoOooOOOOooohhhh the first of the fall baking has arrived!

PUMPKIN.

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Why isn’t it a year-round thing?? I always think that summer fruit is my favorite thing, but then around comes fall (which happens to be my favorite season anyway) and I get all obsessed with pumpkin. So fickle.

But seriously. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things ever. And healthy cookies are right up there next to pumpkin on the favorite things list, so obviously why would I NOT combine these?! Helloooo.

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I’m going to start my pumpkin hoarding sometime soon…. you know what I mean if you’ve hung around my inbox snark the last several years: come fall, everyyytime I go to the store, I grab an extra can of pumpkin. Can never have too much, right?! … Right. Sorry. I have a problem. BUT. That also means that when everyone else is fighting over the *last* can of pumpkin within a 10 mile radius, I am sitting pretty on my hoarded stash. And can therefore make pumpkin things. All. The. Time. Yep. Be jealous. Or don’t, and implement my genius strategy for yourself… you’ll thank me later.

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These cookies play nice in the sandbox, too, as they’re dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and paleo. Even if you don’t subscribe to any particular dietary theory (like me. I’m an omnitarian), it’s only fair to make cookies that can make nice for other people too, right?! Cookies are meant to be shared. They’re like love, in food form.

Bake love. Share food (preferably with a bestie over tea). Eat. Be happy!

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Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, here! My batch yielded 10 cookies, about 2.5-3″. Paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free! Not to mention full of beta carotene, healthy fats, and antioxidants. How could you pass up these little gems?! That’s right… I thought not!

  • 1 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree (Just pumpkin, not pie filling pleeease!)
  • 2.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own: 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pinch of cardamom or mace), plus more to sprinkle on the top of yet-to-be-baked cookies
  • 2 large squares of 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry (and do try to avoid overmixing, we can’t have that…). Stir in chocolate, and drop by the tablespoonish onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkleysprinkle some extra pumpkin pie spice on there because that is an excellent idea. Smooth them out just a little… then pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few as they’re soft right out of the oven—they’ll seem too soft at first but they firm up nicely. Store them in the fridge, if they last that long!

Your kitchen will smell like heaven. Indulge responsibly ;)

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Upgrading the childhood favorites, one cookie at a time

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As you can see, I’m having quite a bit of fun riffing on things that I used to eat as a kid, except making them… edible. Because I don’t know about you, but if I try to eat conventional graham crackers now, they taste like cardboard. STALE cardboard… which is about as bad as it can get, in my book.

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So this is fun! Real food ingredients that you can pronounce and have fun eating. Because these taste almost like the “real” thing, but BETTER! Wheee!

Graham crackers. What an ubiquitous little kid snack (um. And adult?! Hellooooo).

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My grandma used to keep them in the cupboard above her fridge, probably because it was high enough up to be out of the reach of small Hayley (though why the baking drawers with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were at child level I’ll never know—I got really good at swiping handfuls of ‘baking morsels’ every time I went into the kitchen… although sometimes it was with my grandma’s consent, ha). Anyway. She ALWAYS had graham crackers. And I loved them. Crunchy-soft, subtly sweet. Besides that, I have called my grandma Gram for as long as I can remember, and gram=graham! Get it?? Like Gram Crackers? The crackers that Gram always has? Do you see? Perfect.

My dad and I used to eat them for lunch sometimes with milk. We’d get out a really nice plate, put a glass of milk in the center, and then break up about two sleeves worth of crackers nicely and place them around the edge of the plate. And then sit outside, preferably, in the sun, companionably dipping graham crackers.

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Middle school meant that I was obsessed with the cinnamon graham sticks, except my mom would never buy them (actually… thanks mom! In retrospect that was an excellent choice you made), so I would always eat them over at my friend’s house… with applesauce. For some reason that was our thing and we would literally go through a box in one sitting. Whoops. I do have to say, they were startlingly good dipped in applesauce. Weird.

Later in life (ie college) I started buying organic ones and eating them with nut butter and dark chocolate for dessert. Sort of like a deconstructed s’more, except better as I don’t care for marshmallows… so this just leaves you with the good parts… carbs and chocolate! Yessss.

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SO anyway. Lots of good memories associated with these little guys, besides the fact that I like the way they taste. BUT. I don’t really like that they come in a package, even if they are organic. SO. I’ve started making my own! It’s WAY more fun, AND I know exactly what’s going in them. Solving for nostalgia and taste, all in one fell swoop.

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Milk in a shot glass. So classy.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Recipe from Salt&Smoke, here! I adapted it only very slightly. I made two batches, one with coconut oil and maple syrup, and one with butter and honey. The butter ones browned a slight bit more, due to the honey, but they’re both delicious. I think the coconut oil one is actually my favorite—you can’t taste the coconut, but something about the almond flour/coconut oil/maple/vanilla combo really tastes like graham crackers to me. I think my next project will be adding cinnamon to the batter, to make cinnamon crackers!!

I got a yield of 20 from the coconut oil batch, and 23 from the butter batch. They’re about 2″ by 2.5″ (ish).

  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt (I used fine grain with 1 tsp, if you’re using coarse, use 1/2!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp refined coconut oil or butter (I used unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a small splash of almond extract*

*I only used the almond extract in the butter/honey version, and to me it is barely noticeable

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and stir until combined. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, and maple or honey, and microwave (I’m lazy—you can also use a saucepan) until melted and combined. Stir in extract(s). Pour wet into dry, and stir until mixed.

Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, approximately the size of your cookie sheet. I rolled mine out to about 1/8″ thick—-go thinner if you want really crunchy cookies. Score into rectangles using a butter knife, then get fancy and poke little holes in the tops with a fork (because graham crackers aren’t complete without fork marks, duh). I trimmed the excess dough off the edges and re-rolled it into more squares and a few circles.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden. I took both batches out around 13, let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then moved the parchment paper to the cooling rack.

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Happy Tummy Conga Lines

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YOU. GUYS.

I know I have like umpteen zillion banana bread recipes on the blog, but seriously. Ignore the other ones (well, not really–they have their merits too.. just for today!)

THIS is my favorite. Hands down, I’ve-already-eaten-two-slices-and-am-heading-for-another-one-someone-stop-me kind of bread. Like, half the loaf is gone (I’ve had help, let’s be real here).

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And besides that, it is FAB with blackberry jam. Especially when that jam is handmade and acquired from a lovely local source. I’ve never put jam on banana bread before now but I’m probably not going back. Ever.

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Luckily for me, not only is this one a fast and easy one to whip up, but it’s full of healthy for me things like coconut oil and buunahhnuhhsss and whole grains and honey.  Good thing too that we had literally two bunches of dead bananas spread out between the fridge and the freezer and they were looking so sad and dead and brown… clearly they needed to go into something delicious like this. They’re much happier now, they wanted me to tell you.

Go make your dead bananas happy. Bake them into something that then makes your tummy do a happy dance! Mine is, we could have a tummy conga line. Umm yeah okay this is getting out of hand with talking bananas and gastrointestinal conga lines, but seriously. Make, eat, love!

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Why is it gone?!

Coconut Oil and Honey Banana Bread

If you’re not a coconut fan, don’t worry! There’s no coconut flavor noticeable in the bread—I used refined coconut oil for baking, as it can take high heat. This bread is SUPER hydrated (remember, we don’t use the m word), but not squishy. It’s the perfect balance between hydrated and dense, with a nice crumb. It only has a 1/4 c of honey added, so make sure your bananas are deady-dead-dead. The deader the bananas, the sweeter the bread! Mine were literally black. So gross…until they aren’t! This makes one loaf, and the recipe is (ever so slightly modified) from Relishing It, here! SO happy I found it.

  • 1/3 c refined coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey (mine was local, yay!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 c mashed, dead bananas (I used about 5)
  • 1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a few sprinkles of chia seeds (can be left out)

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Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a loaf pan (I use more coconut oil).

In a mediumish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, have fun mashing up all of your dead bananas and trying not to be too disgusted by how brown they are. Ahem, moving on…

Stir together coconut oil and honey until they’re creamy and mixed. Slightly beat eggs and then stir them in as well, followed by vanilla. Mix lightly until combined, then stir in dead banana mashup. Adding the dry ingredients a bit at a time, stir them in until the dry is just incorporated–don’t over mix! No one wants tough buhhnahhnuhh breadz.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and pop it into the oven for just about 45 minutes—mine came out at 45 but probably could have gone for a few more. Let cool in the pan for a bit, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. I’m sure it stores well, but as mine is rapidly disappearing I’m sure we’ll have no issues on that front…

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Happy Birthday, Bloglet!

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Happy Birthday, little Bloglet!!

My little baby bloglet is TWO years old this week!! (I say this week as I’m really not sure what day I started, and wordpress isn’t telling and I’m far too lazy to look back at my posts, whoops).

I feel like a proud parent! It’s so cute. To celebrate, I made… pie!!! (of course). I love my bloglet. Pie equals love. Therefore (QED?!), because I love my bloglet, I have made it a pie! And then I get to eat said pie, so everybody wins. Mmm, warm pie. Happy birthday, little two year old bloglet! Thank you for giving me an excuse to make pie (right. As if I ever needed an excuse to do that), even if it was a thousand degrees the day I made it and my dough got all sticky. Note to self: hot weather = sticky things = use mo’ flour! Whatever, got the crust in the dish in one piece so sticky is clearly sooo not a big deal.

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There has been such a massive amount of change over the two years I’ve been writing this, I’m so thankful I’ve had this as a creative outlet. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I started! 142 posts, lots of snark, and some epic fails later, I can look back with quite a bit of pride! Lots of growth to be had if you check out the early pictures (actually, do me a favor and let’s ignore those, shall we?) versus the later ones. Lots more invisible internet friends! You know I love you. Some things haven’t changed though: I’m still as irreverent and alternative awesome as I’ve ever been (wait. Probably even more than I was…you can be the judge of that ;) and the food is still delicious. I think. Most of the time!

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For now, here’s a list (because I love them) of things I’m loving right now:

1) Gottschalk’s Symphonie romantique, “La nuit des tropiques”! Love love love.

2) Monarch of the Glen. Ob.SESSED.

3) Whole wheat english muffins. Like that’s ever going to change…

4) ALLL the grains and seeds (bird food. whatever): barley, amaranth, millet.

5) LENTILS! Enough said. I eat them for breakfast (I heard that and saw that eyeroll. Let’s not be judgy, you wouldn’t love me unless I did weird things like that, riiiight?!)

6) Reading several books at once. I think my current total is 4. And yes, I will finish them all ;)

7) Raw honey and cinnamon on toast. How have I not discovered this before now?

8) Single crusted pies. That way, you get smacked in the tastebuds by summer’s gloriousness!

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Anyway. Random things that were on my mind, and now they’re on yours. Muahha! Next thing you know you’ll be eating lentils for breakfast…

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Marionberry-Peach Pie

Makes one 8″ pie. The crust is the same one I’ve used before, coconut oil-whole wheat. It’s delicious and easily the fastest and least irritating pie crust I’ve ever made. Even when it’s ridiculously hot in your kitchen, it still cooperates with only minimal fussing. Oh yeah, and it’s absolutely delicious as well!

Crust: 1 whole wheat coconut oil crust, 8″

For the filling*:

  • 1 bag frozen peaches (I cut up the slices a bit because they’re usually really chunky)
  • 2 bags of frozen marionberries
  • 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca (I use quick-cooking)
  • 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp honey

*I used the amount of fruit that would fill my pie dish—the pie was 8″ single crusted, and I didn’t want the filling to sink too much so I threw in an added bag of berries. In my relatively shallow pie pan it was perfect!

Prepare pie crust of choice and preheat oven to 425.

In a large-ish bowl, toss together peaches, marionberries, flour, tapioca, cinnamon, and honey. I usually thaw my berries/fruit slightly, since honey tends to be difficult when it hits frozen things—it mixes a bit better when the fruit is slightly thawed. Once everything is combined, pour filling into the prepared pie crust, and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350, and bake for about another 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit (but serve warm!).

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Transcendental Pie.

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Oh little bloglet, I do love you. I wasn’t even going to post today, but I suppose the bloglet muse struck…

AND I have this pie. Oh my goodness.

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There are no words. So, you get pictures.

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Actually, there are words. Words like family. Sunshine. Warm fruit. Warm weather. Nostalgia. Long evenings, dusky twilights. Memories. Summers that felt endless. Fresh. Happiness. Peace. Soul.

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Pie.

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Pie to me seems older than many traditional desserts or foods… it’s one of those intrinsically ‘family’ foods. When I make it and eat it, I feel a connection to generations of female family members who made pie before I did, and fed it to their loved ones. This is why I make pie by hand, not with a food processor or any other technical kitchen implements. I like just using a simple pastry cutter, and my mom’s wooden rolling pin. So simple, yet I think it makes the best pie. Why is it that the simplest things are so often the best? Probably because we get so much more out of the taste sensation than delicious food: nostalgia and taste receptors go hand in hand. To me, pie is generations of strong women. It makes me proud to feel connected to them in a physical way—those strong, wonderful, loving women who came before me.

So this pie is an homage to them: I am proud to derive my lineage from such a long line of fantastic women and their pies!

Happy early Mother’s Day to my mama, and to all of the wonderful mothers in this world!

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Simple Peach Pie

I know this is the second peach pie recipe on the blog, but um… I LOVE peach pie. So I’m giving you choices! This one is slightly healthier than it’s predecessor, not like that particularly matters when it comes to pie. But actually, this is my favorite of all of the pies on here! Simple, and delicious. The crust comes together easier than anything, and the filling is easy as well. Since it wouldn’t be a Hayley post without some nutritional tidbits, of course I have to add a note about the healthy fats from the coconut oil crust, and the blood-sugar regulating properties of cinnamon. Peaches are fruit, fruit is good for you… Whole wheat crust! And minimally processed sweeteners, from unrefined sources. Wheee!

Crust recipe lightly adapted from The Joyful Pantry, here! I made 1/2+1/4 of the recipe, as I wanted cut outs for the top. My pie pan was a shallow 8″, and I had just enough left for a few decorations. The measurements below are for a double crust, makes two 8″ crusts.

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Make pie. Eat. Love.

Crust:

  • 3/4 c coconut oil
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 5-6 tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 2 bags frozen organic peaches (I think between 2-3 c sliced)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp quick cooking tapioca

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a  bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and coconut sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until you can form a dough (I like to do this part with my hands). Gather the dough up into a ball, then roll out on a floured surface (I like waxed paper, as it makes it easier to flip the crust back into the pie dish). Once it’s larger than the circumference of the dish, flip the dough carefully back onto your pie dish, and press into place. Poke the bottom a few times with a fork, and crimp the edges so it looks pretty!

Combine peaches, honey, cinnamon, flour, and tapioca in a large bowl. Give it a few stirs… see? I told you this was easy. Pour this into the prepared pie dish, top with whatever kind of crust you’d like (double, lattice, cutouts, whatever), and then pop it into the oven. Bake for 30 minutes uncovered, then use foil to tent it and prevent excess browning, baking it for another 30 minutes. The filling should be bubbly when done, and will thicken as it cools.

Let cool a bit before slicing, but not too much… pie should be eaten warm!

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Haha, what leftovers??

 

Spinach. On. The. Ceiling?!

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Did I tell you that vaccuum vati found a piece of spinach on the kitchen ceiling the other day? 

Yeahhhh. That happened. How on earth did I manage that?! Welcome to my life: “Hello, my name is Hayley and I am obsessed with spinach!” I toooold you I put spinach where it didn’t belong, but um I had no idea it had gotten on the ceiling..?! I mean, I know I eat it multiple times a day, but that must have been some pretty ferocious chopping. You know, like Chopped Kitchen type of chopping.

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On. The. Ceiling. The mind boggles. 

Anyway.

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Today’s post has nothing to do with spinach and everything to do with apples. Mmm. Appleeesssssss. I feel like the witch in the Wizard of Oz when I say that… 

This tart is simple, good for your body, and good for your soul. It’s not very sweet–if you’re looking for a sweet dessert, this isn’t it. But I like it for a mid-meal snack post workout… or dessert, since I like mine less sweet anyway. I liked it with some added applesauce, and a few pieces of chopped date. It’s gluten free, vegan if you sub out the honey for maple, and contains no refined sugar. Hooray! I made it on a day that was cloudy and overcast, perfect for apples and baking. Simple, beautiful, and good for the soul. 

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And here. Happy Monday, here’s something beautiful! Have a wonderful day :) 

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Apple-Almond Tart 

Recipe lightly adapted from Tales of a Kitchen, here! This makes one full-sized tart/pie, depending on the pan you use. I would recommend a pie pan, as the crust is very crumbly—I don’t think it would come out of a tart pan too well. Next time I make this I think I’ll add dates to the crust instead of honey—I’d like it to be a bit crustier, less crumbly. But still delicious as is! Serves 8. 

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Laze around with me on a cloudy Sunday and produce the following:

  • 1 c oat flour
  • 1 c almond meal/flour (I grind my own from an equal amount of almonds in the food processor)
  • 1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 apples, cored, peel on (I used fuji and daisy girl)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 5-6 tbsp almond meal
  • 2 apples, finely sliced, peel on

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used a pie pan). 

In a large bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, coconut, coconut oil, honey, and lemon zest. Mash it all together (ideally using your hands, it’s much more fun) until combined. Press the resulting mixture into the prepared pan, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork, and bake for 9-10 minutes, until lightly browned. When done, set it aside to cool slightly.

While the crust is baking, toss cored apples, cinnamon, and vanilla into the food processor (or blender). Blend until a smooth puree is reached. Toss this into a bowl, and stir in 5 tbsp almond meal. If it’s not thick enough and is still a little watery, add another tbsp of almond meal. Pour the filling into the slightly cooled crust, and arrange the finely sliced apples in a pretty pattern (this is very soothing, I found). 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until your house smells delicious and the apples are a golden brown. Let cool before slicing, and store in the fridge! Excellent with a little extra applesauce, or I’m sure whipped coconut cream would be delicious as well, if you can be that on top of things (unlike me). 

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Instant Date-ification

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I used to looove fig newtons. Love them. I don’t really think they’re a universally loved-by-kids snack, but whatever. As a kid, I loved them. I used to nibble around the sides and eat off all of the cakey bits (come to think of it, I ate around madelines from Starbucks the same way…) and then eat the figgy bits in the middle.

In college I graduated to organic ones. Oooooh. Organic obviously makes processed things okay… ?! Um no… not really.

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But… I’ve graduated college and am now a real person (um.. no) (immaturity keeps me forever young) (part of being an adult is being a kid at heart, right? Right) now I’ve graduated to making my own! And even better than figgy type newtons… these are DATE newtons! Pshh. Who WOULDN’T love something stuffed with dates?!

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I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this, but juuuust in case you haven’t noticed… I also LOVE dates! As in, I love dates beyond all reason. They are delicious and good for you and I could easily eat them all day long all day every day for the rest of my life. End of story. Stranded on a desert island, can only pick one food? Dates. Well, okay. Dates and almond butter, because clearly I couldn’t survive on dates alone (and okay… maybe some toast to put the dates and almond butter on. Picky, aren’t I?). I would obviously try though.

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So I made these! And they were maybe one of the best things I’ve put in my face all week. Aaaamazing. And raw. Which means no dealing with ovens and all that silliness, just instant date-ification. Yum yum yum. Oh. And they’re fabulous for you, so it’s just a win win win all around. Healthy fats [almonds and flaxseed], omega 3’s [flaxseed], whole grains [oats], protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and excellent energy [dates, dates dates!].

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Raw Date Newtons

Recipe gratefully borrowed from the Pancake Princess, here!

Makes 16 little guys. Gluten free, could be vegan [non dairy milk bev+maple].

First we rummage for this kind of biz:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partially ground)
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp milk bev (I used 1% dairy)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked for a few minutes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

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Then we:

Lug out the trusty, zillion pound food processor. Open lid, put in blade, yadayada. Toss in almonds, flaxseed, oats, and salt, and pulse until blended. If your almonds are whole and not partially ground like mine, you might want to grind them alone for a bit so that they’re more broken up, but that’s up to you (and the strength of your food processor). Add in honey and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and be clumpier. Add milk, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it sticks together like a dough (and if you pinch it between your fingers it stays together). Remove the dough from your food processor, and roll it out really thinly between two pieces of wax/parchment paper. Aim for a mostly rectangular shape, just to make your bites even sized. I cut mine in half so that I would have two even-ish rectangles, about 1/8-1/4″ thick.

Without even bothering to wash out your food processor (quite possibly my least favorite part of baking), drain dates, and add them with the vanilla to the bowl. Process until a paste forms—it should be spreadable. Spoon that goodness directly onto each half of your rolled out dough, and then fold it up and around the filling to make a cute little date newton bite! Repeat with the other piece of dough and filling. Slice each log into about 8 bites, for a total yield of 16.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge… if they last that long…

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you can never have too many dates…