Almond Joy Bars

coconut barsI have a relatively new found love of coconut.  I really used to dislike it.  Then I realized it was always sweetened.  Like on a lemon meringue pie that my Nana used to make, or in a coconut macaroon usually at a church potluck.  It was perpetually too sweet, and tasted like sugary fibrous shreds of blech.  (And yes, “blech” is a word.  It ends on a k sound, not ch.  Otherwise, it would be ble(t)ch, and what is that?  Nothing, that’s what.)  Then I tasted the un-bastardized, unsweetened coconut and totally fell in foodie love.

As it turns out, coconut is an excellent source of fiber.  Fiber helps you feel full, stabilizes your blood sugar, and helps you go twosies.  (And yes, “twosies” is a real word, too.  Just ask Turk and J.D.  They’re doctors.)  It adds texture and a delicate sweetness to a variety of dishes. I’ve also started eating a spoonful of dry coconut flakes when I feel nauseous or have acid reflux from eating something I shouldn’t.  It works like a charm about 70% of the time.

Coconut is also a superfood, more specifically,  coconut oil.  I try to incorporate it as much as possible into my daily food intake. I blend it into my coffee, cook with it, and take it by the spoonful to help me sleep peacefully at night.  Coconut oil is great for my brain, my liver, my metabolism, and my mood.  I’m pretty sure it’s good for yours, too.

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes for breakfast, snacks, or my overactive sweet-tooth.  I like it because it tastes like a candy bar, I’ll be honest.  But it is so stinkin’ good for me that I don’t feel even a little bit guilty. These travel well, don’t need to be refrigerated, and are delicious treat for at least a week.

Ingredients for bars:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or erythritol (if you’re looking for a low-glycemic option)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour (sifted)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1  tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • a handful of raw almonds

Ingredients for chocolate drizzle:

  • 3 oz 90% cacao chocolate bar  (it’s super low in sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 15 drops liquid stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions for bars:

  1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, including erythritol, and mix well.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir.
  3. Incorporate wet ingredients into dry and pour mixture into 9×13 pyrex glass dish
  4. Evenly place almonds on top of batter
  5. Bake for 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the middle is firm.
  6. Cool completely then cut into bars

Directions for chocolate drizzle:

  1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter.
  2. Once chocolate and butter is fully melted, stir in cardamom, vanilla, and stevia
  3. Transfer chocolate to small ziploc bag and close.
  4. Cut a tiny piece of the corner of the bag off and drizzle over cooled bars.

This is my favorite way to get all the coconut goodness I can handle.  I hope you like it.

May your candy bar dreams come true,


Meyer Lemon Coconut Tartlet

coconut lemon tartletThis time of year is always packed full of sweet treats and ridiculously tasty holiday food.  As a mama on a breast-feeding elimination diet, I find sticking to my eating plan particularly challenging during these winter months.  I wrote about it more in-depth over on The Leaky Boob, and gave a few tips for dealing with social gatherings while on an elimination diet.

I’ve also come up with elimination diet-friendly coconut tartlet, (unless you can’t eat coconut, then let me know and I’ll create something just for you), and handy little infographic that I’m considering printing out in miniature and passing out at holiday gatherings.  Okay.  I’m not seriously considering passing it out, but I’ve definitely daydreamed about it.  Feel free to add your own semi-ridiculous things to the list and share.  We can all have a good laugh over it.

Meyer Lemon Coconut Tartlet

Ingredients for Crust:
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg (optional, binds crust better)
1/4 cup coconut crystals

Directions for Crust:
1) Combine coconut, almond flour and coconut crystals
2) Add butter and mix well, then blend in egg
3) Press into individual tart dishes and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
4) Remove and allow to cool completely

Ingredients for Tart Filling
3 cans coconut milk, chilled in can (full fat, and use the separated cream only)
3-4 lemons, depending on size
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp raw honey
10 drops liquid stevia (optional)

Directions for Tart Filling:
1) Juice lemons by rolling them on the counter top with the heel of your hand, then squeeze juice. (I always put a fork in the halved lemon and squeeze and twist around it.)  Strain the juice to eliminate pulp and seeds.
2) Zest lemon skin into juice.  Organic lemons are best and recommended for this.
3) Take the cream from the cans of coconut and  whip into lemon juice and zest.
4) Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, stevia, and vanilla extract and blend well.
5) Scoop into fully cooled tart dishes, garnish with fresh raspberries, and serve!

*Note: One really great thing about this recipe is the tarts don’t need immediate refrigeration.  They are actually best at room temperature.  If you do refrigerate them, make sure to remove at least 30-40 minutes in advance so the coconut can warm up and be nice and creamy when you serve it.