Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

I was recently inspired by Allison's Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Coconut Candy over at manifest: vegan, and decided I wanted a piece. But this piece had to be really simple. And with very little sugar. And still taste good.

Enter: four little ingredients (well, five, but I don't usually count the sea salt) and a food processor. Easy. Healthy. Really delicious. They take only a few minutes to put together, and if you're packing them for travel--as I am--just skip the chocolate and wrap them in waxed paper or plastic.

And did I mention economical? I made this batch, all organic, for less than $3.

Coconut Peanut Butter Bars
12 or 16 bars

Chocolate is delicate, so be nice to it. This method is a variation on quick tempering, and gently melts it to a drizzling consistency in a double boiler (I just use a sturdy bowl placed over a pan of simmering water). Heat the chocolate to a temperature that's still comfortable to the touch, and let it rest; the unmelted pieces will keep the temperature from getting too high. Or skip the fuss altogether, and melt it in the microwave with a bit of coconut oil or other fat to provide insulation for chocolate's fragility.

3/4 cup dried shredded coconut
3/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
very generous pinch sea salt
1 cup pitted dates
3 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped, or dark chocolate chips

Line a 9" x 5" or 9" x 4" loaf pan with plastic wrap, and set aside.

In a food processor, combine coconut, peanuts, and sea salt until ground into what looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Take care not to over process; the mixture will appear oily if this happens. Add dates, and continue processing until the mixture begins to come together and any bits of date are very small.

Tumble mixture into prepared pan, pressing well and smoothing the top for an even surface (I like the back of a spoon for this). Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, and up to 30.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler on the stove, gently heat chocolate until just melted. There may be a few pieces of chocolate remaining; allow it to sit for a moment, and everything will smooth out. Transfer to a pastry bag or plastic bag with a tiny corner clipped off, and set aside.

Remove pan from refrigerator, and ease the bars out using the plastic overhang. With a sharp knife, cut into 12 or 16 bars, and place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Using a zigzag pattern (or whatever you like), drizzle with melted chocolate. Allow to sit until set, 30 minutes-1 hour, or just eat with the chocolate still melty.

These are delicious with a big glass of almond milk.

Note: While I've labeled this recipe as soy-free, semisweet chocolate often contains a very small amount of soy lecithin as an emulsifier. If you are allergic or very sensitive to soy (or are serving this to someone who is), please check labels carefully.


Mihl said...

Those bars look beautiful! And they sound like a perfect snack, too. I'll make sure to make a batch soon.

dreaminitvegan said...

Ummm I'm making these for the hubby!

Thiên Ân said...

Hi Joy,
Those look fantastic.
We've linked VeganJoy to Vegan Vietnam (VietnamAnChay.blogspot.com).
Thanks for all.

ChickiePea said...

These look delicious. We do lots of variations of nuts here, so this will fit right in and be a great lunchbox addition for "Goose." :)

VivaciousVegan said...

I have left you a present at my blog! Please come take a look!

amandasdomestic said...

Just, wow, These look amazing and delicious. Starring these for a rainy day! Doesn't hurt that you take beautiful photos as well!

fiftytwonamesblog said...

Hi Joy,

I made these sans chocolate, but as I'm cutting them they are crumbling apart! What did I do wrong? Is there anything you can recommend at this point to make them more bar and less crumb?

Joy said...

fiftytwonames, I would toss them back into the food processor and run it until the mixture just begins to form into a ball, adding a bit of water if necessary. The liquid content of dates and peanuts can vary, so try processing them until everything holds together well when pressed against the side.

If you don't want to fuss with that, just squeeze the mixture over ice cream or sliced bananas, and you'll have a tasty crumble.

Thiên Ân, thank you!

Vivacious, that is so sweet--it just made my day.

fiftytwonamesblog said...

It worked! Thanks for responding so quickly so I could salvage these for my road trip tomorrow!

Joy said...

You're very welcome, and I'm happy to help. Enjoy your trip!