I use to make those delicious treats, Magic Bars, which are usually made with condensed milk and lots of refined sugar. I found myself thinking of how much I enjoyed them, and happily stumbled upon Chef Amber Shea's Hello Dolly Bars. If you don't know who Amber is you should- she is a wonderful person and chef! She released her first recipe book, Practically Raw, which is divine and her second recipe book, Practically Raw Desserts will be coming out in the spring. You should seriously go check her out here, but not before you see the Coconut Magic Bars.
Now back to the recipe. I made her Hello Dolly bars and they were really good. I am sure this would not be a problem for most, but I personally found them sweet. Had I eaten them 4 years ago, I would have not noticed or cared. I thought of different ways to tone down the sweetness. What I came up with was to use date paste instead of honey for the coconut topping. This just left the coconut topping darker then if you used honey or agave or maple syrup.
I also tried macadamia nuts in place of the cashews. I prefer the cashews for the crust, but J.P much prefers the macadamia nuts. I found the macadamia nut crust was too soft making it harder to cut and serve. And, I also like the taste of cashews better. To each their own.
Which crust will you choose?
- 2 cups of shredded coconut
- 1 cup of chocolate chips or make your own make your own with this chocolate bark recipe.
- 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
- 14 dates soaked in 1/2 cup of water
- 4 Tbsp of liquid sweetener honey, agave, coconut nectar, agave, or maple syrup
- 1 tsp of vanilla flavor or more. I always use more.
- If you decide to use macadamia nuts for the flour, I would suggest putting them in the freezer to harden. This will make it easier to make the flour.
- One you have ground up your nut of choice, add it to a mixing bowl with the other 2 ingredients and combine well. I used my hands for this, but you don't have to.
- Place the nut crust in a 9x9 dish, and press down to make a crust.
- Place in the fridge to harden while you make the coconut topping.
- Pit the dates, place them in a dish and cover with 1/2 cup of water. Let sit while the dates soften.
- In a mixing bowl, add the shredded coconut, chocolate chips and chopped walnuts/pecans. Mix together.
- Once the dates have soften, place them in a food processor or blender with the water. Blend.
- Pour the date paste over the coconut mixture, add the vanilla flavor and liquid sweetener.
- Stir the mixture until everything is coated with the date paste.
- Press the coconut mixture evenly over the nut crust.
- Now you have 3 options- place in the fridge to harden, place in the dehydrator to warm it up, or bake it in the stove. I did the fridge option. It was just easier.
Now please take the time to go and visit all of Amber's scrumptious recipes.
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