Oct 312014

Walnut, Coconut & Cacao Bars + Fresh Apple Juice

So, this pairing includes a bunch of firsts for me:

  1. Cracked a coconut (it wasn’t pretty)
  2. Intentionally made a raw food dessert
  3. Made homemade apple juice

Let’s start with the coconut. I’m sure if I did this often enough, I would get better at it. Honestly, I couldn’t get much worse… Let’s just say that the YouTube video directions I tried to follow didn’t seem to work for me. (And on that note, if anyone has had success in this area, I’d love to hear about it or get that link, so please leave a comment!) But for all the mess and swearing — and there was plenty of both — the eventually-harvested coconut meat was delicious and tender and noticeably better than the bulk, organic, flaked/shredded coconut that I routinely purchase.

As for the raw food bar, these were less about going raw (are raisins even considered a raw food?), and more about liking raw fruits and nuts and wanting to try something different.

And the juice? Some really aromatic, juicy, delicious apples have begun showing up at my local Whole Foods, so I bought a bunch and brought out the juicer. I’ve had this Omega juicer for about year and pretty much love it. I have yet to find anything it cannot handle, from fruits to carrots to greens, and I’ve gotten used to the cleaning/re-assembly routine, so now it’s a breeze.

Anyway, this combo has been my afternoon snack over the last week or so. The bars are rich and moist and just sweet enough. Like a homemade energy bar, really. They’ve kept nicely in the fridge for several days. And I can see me making them again with whatever odds and ends of dried fruits and nuts I might have around.

Recipe: Nutty Coconut & Cacao Bars

1 cup walnut pieces
3/4 cup pecan pieces
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1 cup fresh coconut meat
1 1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons maple syrup (more or less)

Reserve about 1 tablespoon each of the walnuts, pecans, cacao nibs, coconut flakes and raisins — you’ll mix these in last. Put the rest of the walnuts, pecans, and coconut flakes, along with the fresh coconut meat in the bowl of a food processor. Process to finely chop and combine. Add the raisins and process until finely chopped and well-combined. With the machine running, pour in the maple syrup, starting with just 1 tablespoon, adding more if needed. The idea is for the “dough” to start to stick together in a few big clumps.

Tip into a bowl (or you can just use the pan you’ll eventually press them into) and mix in the reserved walnuts, pecans, cacao nibs, coconut flakes and raisins. I found it was easiest to just use my hands for this. Then press into a square (8×8″) pyrex or similar dish, lined with parchment paper. Set in the fridge for an hour or more, then invert onto a cutting board, peel off the parchment paper, and cut into bars or squares. These keep well for about a week.

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