Coconutty Snack Bars

by Laurel on May 8, 2013

Last weekend I volunteered and donated food to the NYC Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry at the Brooklyn Flea Market. The bake sale was a huge success, completely selling out of all the baked goods donated by NYC food bloggers, and surpassing our fundraising goal.

I made Coconutty Snack Bars, a dessert/snack which are vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and incredibly satisfying. I also brought the bars to a potluck housewarming party and my friends were texting me the next day to say the bars were “addictive” and “aaaahhhhmazzzing.” Score!

I took care to use healthy but indulgent ingredients and avoided using any excess sugar so we all could feel good about gobbling them up. They’ll satisfy a sweet craving but they also keep you full for a long time (because who wants a snack that leaves you hungry?). I love eating these bars straight out of the refrigerator for a mid-day snack or dessert.

Coconutty Snack Bars
(makes 32 bars)

Coconutty Snack Bars

2 packages almond or hazelnut flour (about 32 oz. total)
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp. coconut milk
2 cups pitted dates (about 14 oz.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cashews, chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (about 3 oz.)
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
Pinch of sea salt
Parchment paper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the almond or hazelnut flour with the coconut oil and stir well with a spoon. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Press the flour and oil mixture firmly into the sheet pan until it is as flat as possible.

Place the dates in a pot, add the water, cover with a lid, and bring up to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes or so until the dates are soft and easily turn into a paste, stirring frequently. Break up the dates into pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once you have a paste, turn off the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. (You want the date cocoa mixture to be pretty smooth, but it’s okay if it’s a little chunky.)

Carefully drop spoonfulls of the date cocoa mixture on top of the crust, and then gently spread it around until it covers the crust. Sprinkle a little sea salt on top of the chocolate. Then, sprinkle on the coconut flakes.

In a medium bowl, mix the ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of coconut milk and whisk together. Roughly chop the cashews and then stir them into the flaxseed coconut milk mixture (the cashews will get a bit sticky). Sprinkle the cashews onto the sheet pan. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of coconut milk over all the ingredients in the sheet pan.

Bake the bars in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and allow it to cool down a bit. Chill the bars to set (either in the freezer for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours).

Cut into long rectangles (7 cuts length-wise and 3 cuts width-wise) to end up with 32 bars.

Tip: You can leave out the step where you mix the ground flaxseed and coconut milk with the cashews (I didn’t do it the first time I made them), but I find that it really helps them stick to the top of the bars. Without it, the cashews tend to fall away pretty easily. I recommend that you do it.

Almond meal for coconutty snack bars

Bob's Red Mill is my go-to brand for buying almond or hazelnut meal/flour. You can find it any any health food store or on Amazon.

Almond flour crust for coconutty snack bars

The almond flour and coconut oil mixture, ready to be pressed into the sheet pan to make the crust.

Dates softening for coconutty snack bars

Pitted dates in the pot, ready to add water and soften up to make the filling.

Chocolate and date mixture for coconutty snack bars

Chocolate and date mixture, after the dates softened and turned into a paste.

Building the coconutty snack bars

The crust, pressed into a parchment paper-lined sheet pan.

Building the coconutty snack bars

Almond flour crust, topped with chocolate date paste, then coconut shreds sprinkled on top.

Coconutty Snack Bars

With the cashews added last and the coconut milk drizzled on top, the bars are ready to be baked in the oven.

Coconutty Snack Bars

Up close shot of the bars before they went in the oven.

Coconutty Snack Bars

Picture of the coconutty snack bars, wrapped and ready for the NYC Bake Sale.

Coconutty Snack Bars
Coconutty Snack Bars
Coconutty Snack Bars
Coconutty Snack Bars
Coconutty Snack Bars

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