Food Friday: Coconut Paradise Bars

I have made these a couple times as a treat, then brought them into work, and every time they disappear just a quickly as I bring them in. They are that delicious! If you like Bounty Bars, but don’t like all the additives and extra sugar they have, you are in for a treat. These have only honey as a natural sweetener and filled with soothing and nourishing coconut. The bonus is the chocolate coating on top, and you can even make your own with cocoa powder, maple syrup and cacao butter if you are ambitious. These are adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks Hemsley and Hemsley. 

The Nitty Gritty

Coconut oil is becoming another hot topic these days and for some good reasons. It has a higher smoke point therefore great for baking at a higher temperature. It is also a saturated fat but mainly comprised of medium-chain fatty acids, including lauric acid and caprylic acid, instead of long-chain fatty acids. MCFAs can be absorbed directly into the circulation, for a quick source of energy. Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk but with less water content. It is higher in calories and saturated fat, therefore good to eat in moderation, hence don’t eat the whole pan. 😃 Cut these into smaller bars and you have a delicious, nutritious treat that won’t send your blood sugar levels flying high. 

Paradise Bars

(Makes 24 bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 package creamed coconut (just under 1 cup)(can be found at Sobey's or Pete's)
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • just under ¾ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 7 oz (85% cocoa solids) dark chocolate (I use Bakers semi-sweet chocolate)

Recipe:

  1. Line a 8 in square pan with parchment paper. In cold weather, place the unopened packet of creamed coconut in a bowl of warm water to melt it through (massage the packet to help it along). In warm weather, the creamed coconut will already be fluid enough.
  2. When it’s soft all the way through, pour into a bowl and mix in the coconut oil (it will melt if it’s hard), raw honey, vanilla, salt and 2-4 tbsp water if you like a softer centre. 
  3. Stir in the shredded coconut evenly to create a doughy consistency.
  4. Pour the dough into the prepared pan. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon to make it level and set in the fridge for 15 minutes until hard.
  5. Turn the pan of coconut mixture out onto a chopping board and slice into 6 horizontal slices by 4 vertical. Place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and keep in the freezer while you prep the chocolate.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of warm water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and do not allow the water to boil or simmer – you may have to keep removing from the heat. This should take about 30 minutes. (Alternatively, melt chocolate in a pot on the stove slowly and let cool slightly.)
  7. When the chocolate has almost melted, take the bowl off the heat. Leave it to cool as much as possible without it hardening to give a thicker coating to the paradise bars – stir occasionally.
  8. Dip the frozen coconut bars into the chocolate using two forks, letting the excess drip off, and carefully place back onto the cold baking tray, leaving space between each bar. If the chocolate mixture becomes too cold, you may need to put it back over the simmering water again.
  9. When you’ve finished dipping all the bars, place the tray back into the fridge until set. Once set, seal in a container in the fridge or freezer until required. They will keep in the fridge for a month – longer in the freezer (if they last!).

Enjoy!!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

(Photo credit: www.getthegloss.com)