Fuel Your Day! 100+ Seriously Addictive Energy Cookies, Bites, Bars & More by Madame Labriski provides a wide range of treats that are mostly sweetened with date purée, without added fat and high in fibre. They’re a nutritious approach to fuelling yourself with the energy you need.
DISCLOSURE: Penguin Random House Canada provided me with a complimentary review copy of this cookbook.
I’ve been exploring the use of less refined sugar and lower sugar for a few years here at Urban Cottage Life. I’d heard about using date purée as a sweetener but had never gotten around to trying it. So when Food Bloggers of Canada offered the opportunity to review Fuel Your Day! by Madame Labriski I jumped at the chance. Date purée is the chief sweetener used in the over 100 recipes in the book.
Apart from the introductory chapters that discuss the philosophy behind the recipes and what you need to get started fuelling your day, the book includes eight recipe chapters. The chapters cover:
- Busy Mornings
- Packed with Fruit and Fibre
- When You’re On the Go
- Your Pre-Workout Routine
- Post-Workout Recovery
- Perfect Entertaining
- Easy Desserts
- The Holidays
As you might tell from two of the chapter titles, the author is herself an athlete — a marathon runner — and the book addresses needs particular to an athletic lifestyle.
Each chapter includes a range of recipes with inventive flavours and quirky, sometimes punny titles. There may be an overload of cuteness at times, but why not have a little fun in the kitchen?
Making Date Purée
As Madame Labriski’s instructions show, it couldn’t be easier to make date purée. You simply cook dates and water using the stovetop or microwave, and then process the mixture into a thick purée. Although I’m a stovetop kind of gal, I used the microwave for speed (and because I figure that’s the method most people would choose). I used a hand-held blender instead of a wooden spoon. I now have several containers of date purée on hand in the freezer for my future sweetening needs.
Madame Labriski recommends storing her energy treats in the fridge for up to a week or up to three months in the freezer. She also says they tend to taste better when cooled to room temperature and even better the next day. I can attest to this. When I first made the ChocoGo cookies, to be honest I didn’t care for them all that much. I had another a few days later and enjoyed it. Like magic!
Fuel Your Day! Recipe Testing
I chose two recipes to test for my review and found the instructions easy to follow. The ingredients are divided into sections organized by coloured bars. There are instructions on what to do with the ingredients within each section, as well as about how to combine the sections.
The Maple Crunch-eanut, p. 194
I first made energy balls called the Maple Crunch-eanut (from the Holidays chapter), one of the few recipes in the book that doesn’t contain date purée. It uses maple syrup, which is pretty much my favourite sweetener. Unlike other energy balls I’ve made, they also contain egg, so require baking. The recipe didn’t specify salted or unsalted peanuts. I used unsalted, and then had to add a pinch of salt to enhance the taste. I do think it’s important for a recipe to address such details!
This recipe is supposed to make balls, but something went wrong with my version. I ended up with “balls” that spread out into each other on the baking sheet. My solution was to scrape up the cooled mixture and form it into balls by hand.
So what went wrong? When I mixed all the ingredients together, I could see that it was much too wet to hold its shape. That was still an issue even after I added 50 percent more of the puffed grain. I’m wondering if that’s because I substituted puffed quinoa for the puffed millet called for in the recipe. I couldn’t find the millet at any of the stores I checked, and my local health food store manager told me they haven’t been able to get it in a while. Perhaps puffed quinoa isn’t as absorptive as puffed millet? I wonder now if puffed rice might have been a better substitution, or if I should have doubled the quinoa.
At any rate, these maple-sweetened energy balls, with oats, quinoa and chopped peanuts were delicious. Next time I’ll try them with puffed rice.
The ChocoGo, p. 104
The photo below on the left is from the Fuel Your Day! cookbook (used with permission) and on the right you can see my own photo of the recipe. Clearly the professionally made and photographed cookie is more gorgeous!
What can I say … while this is what I might call a health food cookie, it’s a mighty fine rich chocolate cookie. It’s gluten-free, as it uses almond flour, and also contains ground flaxseeds and skim milk powder. Part of the Recipes for Post-Workout Recovery chapter, it’s designed to feed your muscles protein to help them maximize their recovery time in the 30 minutes following a workout. I, ahem, have eaten them after no workout whatsoever.
The recipes are intensely chocolatey, and went over very well with the majority of my testers, including some little people who would be suspicious of anything that smacks of “health food.”
I think the only changes I might make in future would be to use chocolate chips with a lower cocoa content than the 75 percent called for. And I’d make the cookies smaller. One is a lot to eat at a time, and hey, there’s always the option of eating two smaller ones, right?
The ChocoGo Recipe, used with permission
Fuel Your Day! by Madame Labriski won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for naturally-sweetened, high-fibre snacks that are designed to boost your energy, you’ll want to give it a try.
Excerpted from Fuel Your Day! 100+ Seriously Addictive Energy Cookies, Bites, Bars and More by Madame Labriski. Copyright © 2019 Madame Labriski. Photography by Jean-Francois Frenette and Brigette Theriault. Translated by Marie Asselin. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.