I could make some self-deprecating comment about the status of my social life since moving back from Italy, but I won’t. All I can say is that, over a year out of college, I am coming to understand the beauty of the friend date.
“Friend Date: a situation in which two friends partake in activities (such as movies, coffee, walk on the beach) that have the appearance of a regular date, but have no romantic intentions.”
In school you see your friends everyday. You probably even live with your friends. For some, life after college remains similar, hence the frat boy persona that exists well into your thirties. For others, your friend group grows smaller, and you no longer encounter people your own age at every turn. This is not a bad thing, but rather just a part of growing up.
This is where the friend date comes in. Because you no longer run into your friends on campus, you actually have to plan to meet them. Although the text, “Let’s hang out!” is sometimes acceptable. “Want to go to the movies/for a hike/ on a picnic,” is better. Planning something to do makes for a more productive, and therefor fun friend date.
One of my favorite friend-date activities is cooking. A recent friend-date with my long time friend and fellow foodie Louise turned into a baking (or rather raw dessert making) date. We settled on making fabulous and ironically suitable Figgy Date Bars, and she kindly allowed me to photograph her hands and watch mixing the crumble and cutting the figs. Anyways, here’s how we got figgy with it on our friend-date.
Gettin’ Figgy with my Friend-Date Bars
For the bottom layer:
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Pitted Dates
1/2 cup Almond Meal
1/2 cup Flax Seed Meal
1/2 cup oat bran
1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Crushed Vanilla Bean
For the middle layer:
1 cup Pitted Dates
1/2 cup Dried Figs
1/4 cup Water
1 tbsp Organic Backstrap Molasses (Optional)
For the top Layer:
3/4 cup Almond Meal
For the Bottom Layer:
Combine coconut oil and dates in a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Combine date mush with flaxseed meal, almond meal, oat bran, and vanilla in a separate bowl until the mixture is slightly sticky and can be rolled into a ball with your hands. Using your hands, work mixture into the base of a brownie pan covered with parchment paper.
For the Middle Layer:
Combine dates, figs, and a teaspoon of the water in your food processor. If the dates are really soft you may not need any water. Add water a spoon-full at a time until dates and figs form a smooth sticky paste. If the paste is not sweet enough for you, or you miss the flavor of brown sugar, feel free to add a little molasses. These are friend-date bars and my friend insisted on this! Spread this layer over your base.
For the Top Layer:
Using your hands mix coconut oil and almond meal till a crumble forms. Sprinkle the topping over your date layer.
“Dehydrate” at 180 ° Fahrenheit for two hours.