Thursday, February 20, 2014

Toasted Coconut Date and Nut Bars

I've been searching for a gluten free, sugar free, good for you snack bar that actually tastes delicious and I've finally found one.  This is my new, go to snack bar that I can feel good about.  I found this recipe on Food 52    This recipe is simple to make with ingredients that include toasted coconut, crunchy cashews, sweet medjool dates, which provide just the right amount of sweetness and coconut butter and coconut oil to bind the ingredients together, making these bars a real delight.  Wrap them individually and store them in the refrigerator.  They're a great grab and go bar for anytime of the day.


Makes 8 bars
recipe by Jennifer Farley 

2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups unsalted cashews
1 cup medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut butter ++
1 tablespoon coconut oil 

++ It's very easy to make coconut butter at home and it's so much easier on the wallet as well.  To make the amount needed for this recipe, you'll need 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut and a food processor.  Just add the coconut to the food processor and run for about 5 minutes or so or until the coconut breaks down and becomes a smooth puree.  You'll have to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

To make the bars...

1.  Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2.  Spread the coconut across a parchment lined baking sheet and toast the coconut in the oven for 3 minutes.  Stir and toast for another 2-3 minutes, until light golden in color.  Remove the coconut from the parchment paper and dump into a bowl.  Using the same parchment paper, spread the cashews evenly on the pan and toast for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

3.  Add the toasted coconut and cashews to a food processor along with the dates, cinnamon and salt.  Pulse the ingredients until they are crumb size.

 4.  Add the coconut butter and 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil to the food processor and pulse until the crumbs begin to come together.  If the mixture seems dry, add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil and pusle in until mixture is slightly moist and clumpy.

5.  Using an 8X8 inch baking pan, line the bottom and 2 sides of the pan allowing for extra paper to hang over the 2 sides of the pan.  Pour the mixture into the pan and spread evenly.  Press the mixture firmly into the pan, using a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper laid over the crumbs, to help flatten the mixture evenly.
6.  Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and using a sharp knife, loosen the unlined sides of the pan by running the knife between the pan and the bars, then lift, grabbing the over hanging parchment paper, out of the pan and onto a cutting board.  Cut into 8 bars, wrap individually and store in the refrigerator or the freezer.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Honey Whole Wheat Butter Cookies

Honey Whole Wheat Butter Cookies are my favorite "healthy cookie".  Made with fresh ground whole wheat flour, local "Kate's" butter and golden honey.  Simple to make, nothing fussy except you really want fresh whole wheat flour.  If you can't grind it yourself, really do yourself a favor and purchase a fresh sack of whole wheat flour.  The butter and honey give this cookie a distinct flavor but if your using old flour, the flavor will be spoiled.  These are a great after school snack you don't have to feel guilty about and the kids will love them!


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup honey
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups fresh whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy.  Add the honey and beat until well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time and mixing well between each addition, add vanilla and mix in.  Turn mixer off and set aside.

2.  In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment paper, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together, include the bran that stays in the sifter.

3.  Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix in by hand, add the remaining flour and mix together gently until well incorporated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

4.   Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop out dough by rounded tablespoon and with floured hands roll into balls.  Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined pan.  Slightly flatten each ball with the tines of a fork dipped in flour.  Bake for 10 minutes or until tops are set and a nice brown rim form around the bottom of each cookie.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

Lemon Meltaway Cookies, are a light crisp buttery cookie, with a clean lemony flavor that melts in your mouth.  A perfect teatime treat, for a snowy afternoon.  These are an icebox cookie, but I took some of the chilled dough and rolled it on my counter, then cut them with a heart cookie cutter.  Perfect little Valentines treat for your honey!


1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar for dusting

1.  Sift flour, cornstarch and salt together onto a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
2.  In a mixing bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar, until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla.  Mix until well incorporated.

3.  Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour, mix until combined.

4.  Gather the dough together and divide into two equal pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into a log, about 1 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap each log separately, tightly rolled in a piece of parchment paper.  Chill for at least an hour before baking, or wrapped again in plastic wrap and may be frozen for up to two months.  You can just bake off as much as you want!

5.  Heat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the cookies 1/4 inch thick and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 14 minutes, turning cookie sheet halfway through baking.  Remove from oven when bottoms are just turning golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the pan with a spatula to a cooling rack.  While still slightly warm, sift powdered sugar over both sides of cookies.  Enjoy!