Val’s Vegan Treats: Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars

ImageChocolate Coconut Almond Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pitted dates, tightly packed. Soak in warm water if they are hard. You want nice, squishy dates! (drain before using, save the water)
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 -3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao
1 tsp pure vanilla
tiny pinch of sea salt..less than 1/8 tsp and can be omitted

Special equipment: Food processor with S blade

Important note: if your dates are hard and look kind of shriveled up, soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes, and they will soften right up. Also VERY important.. I always run a knife through the dates and cut them in half or thirds, even though they are pitted. I usually find one or two, and I learned the hard way by breaking a brand new food processor blade! The pits are sometimes hard to feel just by squeezing the dates.

This is one of those recipes you can easily play with.. If your mixture is too dry, crumbly and won’t stick together, add a couple more soft dates, or a couple of drops of the water the dates were soaked in, till it starts to stick together and fall down the sides of the food processor bowl. If your mixture is too wet and sticky, add more nuts or coconut until it starts clumping. Drain the soaked dates really well to avoid wet, sticky bars. Store in a sealed container. These will keep for a week to 10 days and don’t require refrigeration. Mine never last that long! To keep longer, I like to store in the freezer and pop one out when I want a quick snack.

Instructions:
After checking for pits, and soaking dates if necessary, place all ingredients in food processor, fitted with S blade, and pulse, in two to three second bursts till mixture is just combined and starts to stick together. You should still be able to see small pieces of nut and coconut.

Remove S blade, and press into 8 x 8 x 2 pan and refrigerate till firm enough to cut into bars (30 minutes). If bars aren’t your thing, I use a melon baller to make uniform balls, but you can grab a chunk and roll it between your palms until it is round.