Chocolate coconut cashew bars made with simple, clean ingredients for a sweet treat that you can feel good about eating.
Real talk. It’s a damn inferno outside. The heat index in Florida this week has been somewhere around 105 degrees F and it hits you like a ton of bricks as soon as you step outside. On the plus side, I don’t have to waste time applying bronzer because my face has a constant natural glow. Perspiration is the cheapest cosmetic around. Who knew?
To avoid bringing the smolder into my kitchen, I’m opting for raw, no-bake, cold, crisp, chilled-everything. Most meals lately have consisted of every variety of salad you could think of, overnight oats, Greek yogurt parfaits, ALL the fruit and these chocolate coconut cashew bars (which should totally count as a meal). More real talk. Being someone that has been pretty immersed in the field of health, food and nutrition for a while, it’s fun to keep tabs on what the latest trends are. Traditionally, a lot of trends have (unfortunately) revolved around elimination diets in which certain foods or food groups were vilified and restricted. Foods marketed as low-calorie, low-fat, low-this, low-that were usually interpreted by novice consumers to mean “healthy”, right?
Well now we’re starting to see the paradigm shift. People are beginning to change their mindset about food and paying closer attention to not only the nutrition label, but also the ingredient label. Consumers are becoming more interested in actually adding more nutritious ingredients into their diet, as opposed to eliminating other ingredients.What perhaps is even more exciting is that fat is no longer being demonized. Food items such as coconut oil, avocado oil and nut flours are being used more widely for their nutritional benefits with less emphasis placed on their concentrated caloric value.
This is pretty riveting for us dietitians and food bloggers to finally see the old school way of nutrition-focused thinking start to change. Science is ever evolving, my friends, and this industry will forever stay relevant because of it.
To piggyback off that rant, these bars are made of simple ingredients that you actually may already have sitting in your pantry. The base is a blended concoction of raw cashews, oats, liquid sweetener of your choice and coconut oil that seriously resembles cookie dough, both in taste and texture.
The divine chocolate topping is simply a mix of cocoa powder, liquid sweetener and a few pinches of sea salt. The coconut flakes are optional, but coming from someone who could eat a whole vat of Almond Joy bars, I really think they add an extra layer of decadence.
Taking a bite into one of these bars is like going on vacation to a beautiful remote island. You just get lost in the taste and mouthfeel of silky cashews, velvety chocolate and chewy coconut flakes. Each bite is better than the next and the flavors just resonate in your mouth long after you’ve finished eating it. We’ve been going nuts (pun intended) over these bars all weekend and I’m already looking forward to making another batch. I’m thinking of topping the next batch with goji berries so stay tuned on Instagram!
I hope you guys LOVE these bars as much as we do. If you make them, be sure to snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. Your photos truly make my day.
- 1½ cups raw unsalted cashews
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ¼ cup + 2-3 tsp liquid sweetener (honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup)
- Pinch of sea salt
- **Chocolate Coconut Topping**
- ¼ cup liquid sweetener (honey, brown rice syrup, maple syrup)
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
- A few pinches of sea salt
- Add cashews to food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrap down the sides every 30 seconds or so. You want to process the nuts until they start to form somewhat of a paste.
- Add oats, coconut oil, liquid sweetener and sea salt and blend for another 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, until ingredients form a dough (refer to picture).
- Line a loaf pan or 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with non-stick spray. Empty dough into pan and press down firmly, spreading evenly to all edges. It's helpful to use the bottom of a measuring cup to really compact dough.
- Chocolate topping: In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together liquid sweetener, melted coconut oil and cocoa powder until smooth and well-combined. Pour over dough, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and sea salt.
- Freeze for 1 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours before slicing. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To make vegan, use either pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup as sweetener
Join the Conversation!
What’s your current favorite cool summer treat?
Have you also noticed a positive change in how people are viewing food and certain nutrients? I’d love to hear your thoughts!