Check out this sweet treat situation. These chewy coconutty Chocolate Lamington Bars are just what you need for your 3pmsies (or dessert). All you need is 10 mins, 7 ingredients, and grandma’s food processor.
You won’t want to miss this stack up because…
- Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Need I say more.
- Super simple to make – just blitz and set
- Two options to finish – raw if you’re lazy like me, or blast them in the oven to bring out all the toasty coconut vibes
I actually first made this recipe 10 years ago, in my Dad’s tiny apartment kitchen in Sydney. I.e. with near zero single-man-style equipment. I’m pretty sure I set them in an old ice cream container. Whatever you choose, no-one will know – I gave them a rev up this week and they’re still just as delish as ever. Try them out for size this weekend!
How to Make Chocolate Lamington Bars
What are lamingtons normally made from
When I gave these to my younger sister to try this week, her first comment was “but… aren’t lamingtons meant to be a sponge?”. Great. Here’s me questioning all my recipe naming strategies.
She was right though – lamingtons are traditionally squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and covered with desiccated coconut. It’s the classic battle of Australia vs New Zealand as to who can take ownership. However, according to research by the University of Auckland, these chocolatey coconutty bites were indeed invented in the land of the long white cloud, to imitate the snow-capped mountains of New Zealand.
Ingredients for these easy no-bake lamington bars
So how on earth are my bars even remotely able to be associated with a lamington. Well – chocolate, and coconut. As you know, I’m unlikely to ever bake you a sponge cake (although never say never), so until then, this is as close to lamington as Be Good Organics is gonna get.
Plus. Check out our ingredients list. Much shorter and healthier than a classic lammy (which involves white flour, sugar, butter, icing sugar, and dairy milk, amongst other notorious BIGs).
- Cacao powder
- Coconut oil
- Vanilla extract
- Shredded coconut
Easy right? You got all this already? Good human you.
Nutritional benefits of coconut
Given there’s a solid 1 ½ cups of coconut in these lamington bars, I thought we better clear up some confusion around our favourite tropical bowling ball.
Coconuts are in fact not a fruit, nut, or seed, but rather a drupe. Botanical classification aside, mostly I think of them as a good source of plant-based fats. Here are a few of my favourite features:
- High in fibre – 100g of dried coconut contains a cracking 16.3g of fibre. That takes brown rice to the park (at 3.5g), as well as quinoa (5g), wholemeal bread (7g), and even chickpeas (8g). Prepare yourself for some great bowel motions.
- Naturally sweet – coconut is naturally sweet, so adding it to a recipe like this one means you can add sweetness without having to add more dates/raisins or processed liquid sweeteners. It’s often much more affordable than these ingredients too, so a great way to reduce your overall food costs.
- Fantastic source of iron – bet you weren’t expecting this one huh. But yes, the ol’ coconut contains 3.3mg of iron per 100 grams, not dissimilar to beef at 3.5 m. This provides 18% of our daily needs as females, or 41% for the men folk. Not saying you should serve yourself up a cup of dried coconut for brekky, but adding it to your meals will certainly help you reach your daily needs.
What about the saturated fat in coconut?
Good question. 89% of the fat in coconut is the saturated variety, which can be a problem for some individuals. A 2020 meta-analysis (a type of scientific review) of 16 studies, showed that the consumption of coconut oil increased LDL cholesterol levels compared with non-tropical vegetables oils (such as olive or grapeseed). Similar studies on dried coconut and cholesterol have not been done, but given desiccated coconut contains 64.5% fat, we can basically draw the same conclusion.
Interestingly, these studies did not see a difference in blood sugar control, inflammation, or adiposity (body fat levels) between coconut oil and other oils. So, dried coconut won’t make you fat or cause inflammation, but it might raise your cholesterol if you have a problem there already.
My recommendation is – if your LDL and triglyceride cholesterol is rock bottom like mine, eat as much coconut as you like. If your cholesterol is above the recommended ranges (LDL <2.0mmol/L, triglycerides <1.7mmol/L), keep it to a minimum.
Substitution ideas for these lamington bars
Dam it Buffy I have high cholesterol, how am I going to make these ridiculously good looking bars now. Here are some subs for you, for the coconut and the rest:
- Cashews – swap for almonds, brazil nuts, or hemp seeds.
- Dates/raisins – you can go all dates, all raisins, or even use sultanas. I love the raisin (or sultana) addition here as it adds a rummy type flavour.
- Coconut oil – swap for melted cacao butter, it’ll give them more of a chocolate flavour and also help them set harder out of the fridge.
- Shredded coconut – swap for 1 cup of raw/activated buckwheat, puffed quinoa, rice puffs, or slivered almonds. Note you’ll only want 1 cup if so (vs 1 ½ cups coconut), to keep everything sticking together.
Tips for making the best chocolate lamington bars
You can’t go wrong with these, but here are a few quickie tips:
- Food processor – don’t try and make these in your blender. The dates and raisins will get all caught up on top and turn into one big sticker glob. Borrow grandma’s food processor, it’ll do a better job on these.
- Blend your cashews first – this will make the whole thing easier on your processor, and give you that lovely sticky base texture. As soon as you add anything sticky (eg dates/raisins) to nuts, it makes it 10x harder to grind them down.
- Add a dash of water if you need – depending on how dry your dates are, you might find my measure of coconut oil isn’t enough to get yours sticking together. No worries – just add another tablespoon of coco oil, or a tiny dash of water. In contrast, if you splash out on super gooey medjouls for these, you won’t need the coconut oil at all.
How to store your bars
I’m a sucker for freezer storage for all my bars. It keeps them uber chewy, which is just how I like it. But – you can keep them happily in the fridge too. They will soften out of the fridge, so if you want to pop them in lunchboxes, play with the cacao butter option.
They’ll keep easily for 2 weeks in the fridge, and a solid 2 months in the freezer. I’m not sure why I always write this, my sweet treats have never in the history of the universe lasted 2 months in the freezer. Maybe you’ll have more luck than me.
Want more quick sweet treats? Check these out:
If you make these Chocolate Lamington Bars, please let me know! Leave me a rating and comment below (it helps the recipe become more searchable online), and if you want to go the extra mile, tag me @begoodorganics on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. I can’t wait to hear from you!
- 1 c cashews
- ½ c cacao powder
- 1 c dates
- ⅔ c raisins
- 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 1 ½ c shredded coconut
- Blend the cashews in a food processor to a fine flour, then add cacao powder, dates, raisins, coconut oil, vanilla and salt, and blend until sticky (you can add 1 tablespoon of water if it’s not sticking).
- Add shredded coconut and pulse until combined, then press into a lined or silicon loaf tin, and pop in the freezer for 1 hour to set. Or, bake them for 8 minutes at 120°C fan bake if you want to bring out a more toasted coconut flavour.
- Slice into bars, and store in the freezer for a super chewy bar, or fridge for a softer bar. Will keep for 2 months in the freezer, or fridge for 2 weeks.
- Food processor
- Nut free: Use sunflower or hemp seeds instead of cashews.
- Oil free: Add water instead of coconut oil, and keep in the freezer.