Chocolate Coconut Copycat Bars (homemade Larabars)
Many women of my generation were raised to downplay their achievements. It was considered gauche to toot your own horn. Indeed, quite the opposite: minimizing your accomplishments was somehow admirable, girlish, feminine, which is perhaps why I always notice when my good friend Deanna, a jeweler designer who’s undeniably feminine, admires her own wares and notes how very lovely they are. And they are.
She never comes off as full of herself, simply confident and proud of her work.
Last week, after a third attempt at knocking off Larabars to quench my afternoon chocolate fix in our “10 Days of Real Food” household (where we are eschewing sugar and processed foods), I finally nailed it. I was pleased. And I thought about Deanna …and so got my nerve up to tell you this:
THESE CHOCOLATE COCONUT COPYCAT BARS ARE GOOD.
Really good. Better than Larabars. Cheaper than Larabars. Easy to make. Nourishing. Portable. Chocolatey. Satisfying. Sugar-Free. Gluten-Free. Pretty to look at. Will solve global warming.
I got so excited, I had to indulge my inner Martha Stewart whereby I couldn’t stop with the parchment and twine:
Yes, we’re raising children in a day and age when our every good deed is tweeted or instagrammed , yet our cultural values around modesty remain. What most women — moms especially — do in a single day bears trumpeting, not minimizing. I don’t want to raise my daughters to be boastful, but I sure do want them to own it when they’ve done something wonderful… and not be shy about sharing it with the world.
This is a simple, wholesome bar that requires no cooking and is all made in the food processor. Feel free to experiment with other nuts. You can add a tablespoon or two of chia seeds for an added nutrient boost.
- 1 cup water
- 18 pitted medjool dates
- 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, divided
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so the paper drapes over two sides.
- Boil the water. Put the dates in a shallow bowl and pour boiled water over them. Soak for 5 minutes, drain the water and discard. Put the soaked dates in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- Set aside 1 tablespoon of the shredded coconut for topping the bars. Add the remaining coconut, walnuts, almonds, cocoa powder, and salt to the dates in the food processor. Run the processor until the nuts are ground into tiny bits and a sticky dough forms, pulsing as needed.
- Dump the dough onto the parchment-lined pan and use your fingers to press it down firmly and evenly, filling out the pan. If it's too sticky, lay parchment under your fingers as you press. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of coconut over the top.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm. Use the two draping sides of parchment to lift the bars out of the pan and set on a cutting board. Use a large knife to cut into 24 bars.
- Store at room temperature or in the fridge in a container with a tight-fitting lid.