The Perfect Homemade Gift: Drunken Pirouettes

Julia Erickson, co-founder of Barre, shares the recipe for a homemade energy snack, fueled with a touch of Wigle’s organic rye whiskey.



I hope you enjoyed this year’s Pittsburgh Foodie Gift Guide and found some great local gifts for those who love to eat and/or drink (read: everyone).

Now, in keeping with The Brazen Kitchen tradition, I share with you a great recipe for those of us who also like to give away homemade presents.

This year, my friend, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Julia Erickson, shares the recipe for one of the best energy bars I have ever had — Barre. Specifically, the Pirouette Barre. And I found out that this is the Barre that started it all.

“We rehearse all day,” Erickson shares. “And we typically only get a few minutes every hour for our break. I started making these so I can get a healthy energy boost during those quick breaks.”

What she doesn’t share is that these little energy bites taste like the best treats. She would make a batch and form them into balls for easy popping. But when she launched the brand with her fiancé, Aaron Ingley, they not only took the form of bars, but the couple also expanded the line to include flavors such as Black Swan (a yummy chocolate berry Barre) and Spirulina Ballerina (a spirulina-spiked variety).

What I love about Barre is that it is made from real ingredients. No additives, soy isolates or weird stuff you cannot pronounce. Pirouette, my favorite flavor, is made from dates, pecans, cinnamon, vanilla, hemp seeds, flax seeds and oats. That’s it. Delicious.

BUT. For the holidays — and for present purposes — we make them a little bit more fun by adding some of Wigle Whiskey’s organic rye whiskey and call them Drunken Pirouettes. These are amazingly good and perfect for those who hate fruit cake. The batter is infinitely forgiving; you can adjust by mixing in some other dried fruits including cranberries or mixing up the nuts. My favorite combination is the below recipe, but feel free to put your own spin on it.

Make a few batches, wrap them up in festive bows and bowls, and there you go. Gifts made by you, with love.

Drunken Pirouettes

Makes about 16 bars or 32 balls


  • 3 1/2 cups dates
  • 2 cups pecans (or a mix of pecans and walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Wigle Organic Rye Whiskey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. In a food processor, process nuts into small pieces or a meal-like consistency. Place in a big bowl.
  2. Process dates until they form a paste. A small amount of water can be added if needed. (The dates are easier to process if they are room temperature or warmer.) Place the date paste into the bowl.
  3. Add back the nuts and all the remaining ingredients and pulse until fully combined.
  4. Alternatively, place all remaining ingredients into the bowl. With gloved or clean hands, knead the contents of the bowl to form a uniform, consistent paste.
  5. Form into balls and store at room temperature or in the fridge. Enjoy feeling virtuous while eating the deliciousness!


Categories: Brazen Kitchen