Raw Coconut-Orange-Cacao Bars

Raw Coconut Bars
Raw Coconut-Orange-Cacao Bars

Did I mention I was on a raw food kick lately?  I feel great – I’ve been juicing vegetables every day for the past couple of weeks and incorporating some sort of raw dish with every meal, including salads, raw nuts and seeds, fruits, fresh coconut smoothies, and delicious sauces made with figs, dates, cold-pressed oils and dried spices.  I’ve been exploring this wonderful raw “cook” book called The Complete Book of Raw Food – Baird/Rodwell.  The more recipes I’ve tried, I began to start exploring my own creations and adaptions.  (And not to mention raw food is almost always naturally gluten, dairy, and sugar-free and vegan!)

One of the things I’ve discovered is that you don’t have to limit raw food consumption to just salads and vegetable side dishes – it’s a great way to enjoy dessert as well.  Instead of getting a sugar rush followed by a crash later, your dessert should energize you while satisfying your sweet tooth at the same time.  There is no sweet treat healthier and tastier than a dessert made from raw nuts and fresh or dried fruit, conjured up in a food processor into delectable concoctions.

In this particular dessert, I started with a basic fig-pecan crust with added orange zest and created a filling of coconut, dates, walnuts and cacao nibs.

For The Crust

1-1/2 cups raw pecans

1 cup dried figs

Zest and juice of one orange

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch sea salt

Remove the zest from the orange with a fine grater and set aside.  Press the juice into a bowl.  Remove the stems from the dried figs and soak in the fresh-squeezed orange juice for at least an hour.  In a food processor, finely chop the pecans with the orange zest.  Add the soaked figs (reserve the juice), cinnamon and sea salt, process until blended.  Press into a small square ( 8 x 8 ) or rectangular pan and refrigerate while making the filling.

For The Filling

1 cup flaked (better than shredded) coconut, soaked in water for at least an hour

4-5 Medjool dates, pitted

Reserved orange juice from figs

1/2 cup walnuts

2 T raw cacao nibs for a totally raw dessert,

OR

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (contains small amount of sugar)

Drain the coconut and put all the ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until coarsely chopped and well mixed, pat into the prepared crust.  Chill for several hours and cut into squares.

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