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.
Last 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.
- Dab of oil to grease an 8×8 pan
- 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)
- 1 cup of strawberry chia seed jam
- ¾ cup coconut flakes (the natural kind, without sugar added)
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks, melted in the microwave for 45 seconds
- Lightly grease an 8×8 pan
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, flax seed, baking powder, and salt well.
- 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).
- Press with oiled or wet hands into your greased 8×8 pan.
- Top with 1 cup of jam (spread evenly with a rubber spatula).
- 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!)
- Top with drizzles of melted dark chocolate.
- 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).