When I first made the Lara Bars Squared and posted them here, it really got my creative juices flowing. There seemed to be endless possibilities and combinations of how to work with similar ingredients to create lots of different flavors and textures in these energy bars.
When I first made these bites, I had not used the toasted coconut. They were good…but I felt like they needed something else. So to the pantry I went exploring, and the coconut was practically begging me to part of this little experiment….and boy did it pay off! The toasting really brings out the flavor and sets these little bites apart. I thought maybe if I made little bites, they would last longer…but we’ll see! And maybe next time…I will toast the walnuts too!
P.S. The kids thought these were brownies.
- 8 ounces Medjool dates (Trader Joes is the best deal I have found, $3.79/pound) You could add more if you'd like to increase the sweetness
- 1½ cup walnuts, toasted for extra flavor oompf if desired
- 6 tablespoons cacao powder (I used Navitas, any unsweetened powder would do, but higher quality ones usually have a better chocolate punch, my favorite so far has been Dagoba)
- 1-2 tablespoons raw honey (or any honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar)
- Dash of salt (optional! But it heightens the chocolate flavor)
- ½ cup grated unsweetened coconut, toasted
- Toast the coconut by cooking in a heavy-bottomed pan over low heat. Be very watchful, shaking it around many times to evenly toast and to watch the golden hues develop. It will go from toasted to burnt pretty quickly! Alternately, you could disperse the coconut on a cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 6-10 minutes, shaking a couple times, removing when golden brown. Set aside.
- Place all ingredients except coconut in a food processor and blend until cohesive.
- Add in ¼ cup of the coconut. Pulse a few more times to mix, taste test for sweetness and add more dates or honey if desired.
- Pinch off small grape size (or larger) pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball in the remaining toasted coconut! A quicker method is to press the whole deal into an 8 x 8 pan, press the toasted coconut into the top. Slice into bars for storage. You all mix all the toasted coconut into the mix and forgo the pretty coating!
- Store pieces in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
This recipe was shared on Mostly Homemade Mondays, Hearth & Soul, Fat Tuesday, GF Wednesday, Waste Not Want Not, Real Food Fridays, Let’s Get Real Fridays, foodie Fridays, GF Fridays, Free From Fridays,