I will be the first to tell you that I luv a Mounds bar. Sweet coconut dipped in rich dark chocolate- sign me up for that.
But ever since I have been in on what I like to call a “cleaner” eating plan, the truth is that I am constantly on a quest to find chocolate options I can eat more than every time my eyes wander longingly at a vending machine. You know, as the saying goes, some chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. Well, something like that.
I have also recently discovered raw cashews and am a bit obsessed. Raw nuts are amazing in their ability to gently blend into whatever you might need them to be. Need a non-dairy cheese option? Throw some raw, soaked cashews in a blender with nutritional yeast (queso recipe coming soon that I promise is going to knock your socks off). Milk substitute? Soak raw almonds, then run them through a blender with water. Need a bar to satisfy your constantly nagging/slightly annoying sweet tooth? Enter coconut cacao heaven.
These bars are uber simple to make, and unlike most raw food bars, don’t use an over abundance of dates.
By the way, can we all be real for a second? Dates are not my favorite. They remind me a bit of the smell of my grandmother’s (loved her!) closet drawer.
Instead, these bars are chocked full of raw almonds, cashews, cacao powder, and coconut. They hold together beautifully, and are so easy to assemble. Plus, they have lots of healthy fats, which will hopefully fuel you on your journey past the vending machine. Plus, my husband, his friends, and everyone I handed one of these to thought it was delicious.
So, Mounds world watch out- there’s a new bar in town.
Coconut Cacao bars (Inspired by About.com, recipe adjusted by me)
What You Will Need
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked (this is one cup measured before you soak the almonds)*
- 1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chia seed
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sweetened (or unsweetened if you prefer) coconut, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon water
- wax paper
What You Will Do
- Line an 8 by 8 inch square pan with wax paper.**
- Blend the cashews, almonds, dates, chia seed, cacao powder, vanilla extract, and salt in a food processor until the pieces are about the size of fine gravel.
- Add 1 tablespoon water and coconut to the processor.
- Pulse the mixture until it begins to form a large “dough” ball in the processor, or until the motor sounds like it’s whistling angrily (maybe this was just me.)
- Use a spatula or your hands to press the “dough” into an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.
- To get the top of the bars super smooth, use one more strip of parchment paper (cut as wide as the baking pan), and press it into the top of the bars. Use your spatula to gently press the mixture down, starting at the top of the pan and working downward, then side to side, until it is evenly smooth on the top.
- Peel off the wax paper, then sprinkle with as much coconut as desired.
- Cover and chill the mixture for at least an hour.
- Cut into squares and enjoy!
*Soaking nuts is a whole new world to me, but all you have to do is pour them into a bowl, then add enough water to cover them. Sit them out at room temp for at least eight hours, and up to 12.
**The easiest way I have found to line baking pans is this: Begin to stretch the paper off the roll and across the width of your pan. Cut the paper right before it reaches the edge of the pan. Turn the pan counterclockwise, and do the same thing for the other side. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray, then insert one strip of paper. Spray cooking spray on the first strip, then top with the final one. Viola!