Just based on their name, I dare you to not want one of these. Vegan, gluten-free, no-bake – check, check, check. And, healthy enough to eat for breakfast, too. You’re welcome.

coconutLast night we celebrated a good friend’s 30th birthday (oh to be 30 again) with a South African feast (a curry and a chutney recipe are quick to come!) I didn’t have time to research and veganize a South African dessert, so instead I made these bars that had been percolating in my mind ever since I made strawberry chia seed jam last week. I considered making a peanut butter and jelly bar of sorts, and, now that I’m typing that, it’s certainly still on the list, but I really wanted to incorporate coconut and chocolate, too. So, we ended up with these beauties.

recipe: strawberry almond coconut chocolate bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Ingredients
  • Dab of oil to grease an 8×8 pan
for the crust layer
  • 2 cups almond meal (buy it or grind your own)
  • 2 T flax seed meal
  • ½ t sea salt
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 3 T agave or maple syrup
  • 3 T warm water
  • ½ t almond extract (optional, or use vanilla)
for the jam layer
for the coconut layer
  • ¾ cup coconut flakes (the natural kind, without sugar added)
for the chocolate layer
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks, melted in the microwave for 45 seconds
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, flax seed, baking powder, and salt well.
  3. Add the almond butter, agave, warm water, and extract and mix with a fork until very well combined (it will be the consistency of cookie dough).
  4. Press with oiled or wet hands into your greased 8×8 pan.
  5. Top with 1 cup of jam (spread evenly with a rubber spatula).
  6. Top with toasted coconut (to toast it: place in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, stirring it around for about eight minutes until golden brown, or put it in a 350 degree oven on a large cookie sheet for about six minutes, with either method: watch closely so it does not burn as it will happen very quickly!)
  7. Top with drizzles of melted dark chocolate.
  8. Refrigerate overnight for best results, this helps the bars gel together and makes them easy to cut.

 

For a decadent dessert I served these in a bowl with coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of warm, melted dark chocolate on top. Then, this morning I had one (sans ice cream, sadly) for breakfast. You can easily reduce even the small amount of sugar in these bars by leaving off the chocolate (or just using a bit) and not adding any sweetener to the jam you make (or choosing a store-bought one with no sugar added).
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