by Buffy Ellen 0 Comments

While I'm in Sydney these few weeks, I've been spending a lot of time with my father and youngest sister who's 11. As a result, I've been thinking a lot about healthy plant-based treats I can make her that she'll enjoy. I wanted to make something that she'd be able to grab and take with her to swimming and gymnastics, and so created this recipe this week. These bars are a delicious blend of cacao, coconut, cashews, raisins and a hint of vanilla. They have just the right level of sweetness (not too much), and are about a tenth of the cost of buying pre-made raw fruit and nut bars from the store. They're also super easy to make in your food processor, and if you have kids or grandkids yourself you can get them involved too.

I mentioned last week about how I recommend storing your raw sweet treats, in my Lemon Coconut Truffle post here. Essentially, if they include a water component (such as soaked nuts or fruit juice) then they're best kept in the freezer to keep them firm and fresh. If however they only consist of dried fruit and nuts with no liquid, you can happily keep them in the fridge for many weeks.

So when to use soaked nuts and when to use dry?

5-minute chewy Cacao Coconut Bars #healthy #vegan #cacao #coconut #recipe #dairyfree #sugarfree #glutenfree #begoodorganics

To Soak or Not to Soak

You may have heard of soaking your nuts, seeds, grains and legumes, and wondered why on earth you'd go to the extra effort. Soaking nuts ands grains removes their outer layer of phytic acid and initiates the sprouting process, which makes their fats and proteins more digestible. That layer is there to otherwise protect the nut from being munched by predators, and prevents it from going rancid! Smart little things plants are.

I generally use nuts in three ways and would recommend you trying these also. Soak them overnight, rinse and drain, then use them as is, dry or dehydrate them at low temperatures so they remain raw but crunchy, or roast them lightly. Roasting reduces nuts'  potential rancidity, makes them easier to digest, and increases their warming qualities, but only lightly roast as overheating harms their delicate oils.

Here are some tips for my three recommended methods of nut preparation (and I refer to them in recipes as such):

Soaked: Soak overnight in water (filtered if possible), then drain and rinse well. Use immediately, or pat dry and store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2 days or freezer for up to 2 months. Great to use when a creamy texture is desired such as in my Coconut Cashew Chia Cream and Creamy Lemon Cheesecake.

Raw (soaked then dehydrated): Soak overnight as above, rinse in morning, drain and pat dry. Pour into a single layer in a baking tray, and bake overnight (~12 hours) at 50°C until dry and crunchy. Allow to cool completely, then use or store in a glass jar in a cool dark place, or in the freezer in a sealed container. Perfect for drier recipes such as my Lemon Coconut Truffles or this week's Cacao Coconut Bars.

Roasted: As per the raw dehydrated version, but roast lightly at 150°C for 8-15 minutes until just crunchy. Allow to cool completely, then use or store in a glass jar in a cool dark place, or in the freezer in a sealed container. This is a quicker version of drying your nuts than the raw dehydrated method, and also good for nuts which taste better roasted such as the hazelnuts in my Ferrero Rocher Choc Hazelnut Truffles.

5-minute chewy Cacao Coconut Bars #healthy #vegan #cacao #coconut #recipe #dairyfree #sugarfree #glutenfree #begoodorganics

Nuts are one of my favourite energy dense foods. They are rich sources of protein and fat, and contain high levels of vitamin E which protects the nerves, skin, and is essential for liver function. They are also high in polyphenols and protease inhibitors, both compounds which help prevent cancer. Nuts contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats which lower blood cholesterol. They're also low GI meaning they help regulate blood sugar, and are good for diabetics as well as regular individuals wanting consistent energy levels.

Despite my dear love for nuts, they are high energy dense foods so are best enjoyed in moderation, particularly if you're wanting to lose weight. And when I'm talking nuts I'm talking about the raw organic one, not honey roasted peanuts and salted cashews (although a handful on a Friday night won't hurt).

5-minute chewy Cacao Coconut Bars #healthy #vegan #cacao #coconut #recipe #dairyfree #sugarfree #glutenfree #begoodorganics

These snack bars are best kept in the fridge in a sealed container, and will last for at least two weeks. You can alternatively store them in the freezer for up to two months. And by the way, they're not just great for kids, they make excellent adult snacks too! Wrap one up and take it with you to work or uni, if you don't have a fridge onsite just keep them in the freezer overnight beforehand so they stay nice and firm till consumption.

Have a go this week - they're truly delicious I promise. Sometimes the simplest things are best. And if you'd like to share your delicious snack bars over on Instagram, be sure to tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come say hello and check out your glorious creations. Have a wonderful weekend.

x Buffy-Ellen

Cacao Coconut Bars

 

5-minute chewy Cacao Coconut Bars #healthy #vegan #cacao #coconut #recipe #dairyfree #sugarfree #glutenfree #begoodorganics

RawVeganVegetarianPaleoDairy FreeGluten FreeWheat FreeSugar FreeSoy FreeContains Organic IngredientsCruelty Free

Makes 6 snack bars (or double recipe for 12)

Make with

All of the highlighted items below can be ordered directly from our online store, simply click each ingredient link then add them to your cart

Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possible

1/2 c raw cashews
1/2 c medjoul dates 
1/3 c raisins
3/4 c desiccated coconut
1/4 c cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch Himalayan sea salt

c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon

How to
  1. Blend the cashews in a food processor until you achieve a fine flour, then add cacao powder, vanilla and salt until combined.
  2. Add dates one by one while processor is running then add raisins, until you achieve a crumbly dough.
  3. Finally add desiccated coconut and pulse until combined - you want to add this last so you retain some of the coconut texture separate to the moist base.
  4. Press mixture into a lined baking tray around 1cm high, or mould into a square with your hands if you don't have a suitably sized tray.
  5. Pop in freezer for an hour to set, or in the fridge overnight, then cut into six bars.

PS If you liked this recipe, feel free to share it on Facebook (hit the like button below), Pinterest (hover over any of the images and click Pin It), Instagram or Twitter

5-minute chewy Cacao Coconut Bars #healthy #vegan #cacao #coconut #recipe #dairyfree #sugarfree #glutenfree #begoodorganics

Sources:
Herbs and Natural Supplements - An Evidence-Based Guide (Braun, L., & Cohen, M.)
The Food Pharmacy (Carper, J.)
Healing With Wholefoods (Pitchford, P.) 
USDA Nutrition Database



Buffy Ellen
Buffy Ellen

Author

Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes. Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.




Also in Blog

Midnight Black Sesame Tarts
Midnight Black Sesame Tarts

by Buffy Ellen 0 Comments

These deliciously dark and mysterious tarts are just a little bit special, with a secret ingredient. Modestly sweet, with an earthy, nutty flavour- a lovely change from the usual fruity/chocolate affairs - give them a go, and fall in love!

Continue Reading

Feijoa Coconut Muffins
Feijoa Coconut Muffins

by Buffy Ellen 0 Comments

These light and fruity muffins use one of my favourite fruits – feijoas! If you’re a feijoa fan you’ll love these (and if not, come to NZ to try them). Best of all, they have no added sugar – just the natural sweetness of feijoas, coconut, dates, and vanilla.

Continue Reading

Spiced Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad
Spiced Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad

by Buffy Ellen 0 Comments

With the days getting colder and shorter, it's time to bring out the roast veg! This wonderful winter salad is spiked with the warming flavours of turmeric, cumin & smoked paprika. Pre-heat your oven and get ready for some tasty roasties.

Continue Reading