Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Coconut Bars (GAPS-friendly, grain- and gluten-free)

A homemade, nourishing protein bar! These peanut butter coconut bars are absolutely addicting! They make a great snack or treat. This is my version of a recipe from Passionate Homemaking. The coconut flavor really shines through because of the unrefined coconut oil.

Peanut Butter Coconut Bars:
2 cups crispy almonds and/or pecans*
1/2 cup dates or raisins (I've used 1/2 dates and 1/2 raisins or all raisins)
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup unrefined coconut oil (soft enough to scoop easily)
1 Tbsp honey (optional, I omit this as we find the bars to be sweet enough without it)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Coarsely chop nuts in food processor. Then add all other ingredients and process until smooth (this takes awhile in mine; after a little while a clump forms but just let it keep whirring until it gets all smooth). Grease either an 8X8 square baking dish or a couple mini muffin tins with coconut oil. Plop into your dish and refrigerate to harden. These always tastes much better once cold for some reason. Store in the refrigerator.

Because of the high amount of coconut oil in these bars, they will get quite mushy if out of the fridge for any length of time.  We usually just eat them right out of the fridge, or pack a small ice pack if taking them in a lunch pail.

*Crispy nuts: these are nuts that have been soaked in water with a little salt for 12-24 hours and then dried in the dehydrator until crispy (which usually takes about 24 hours at 155 degrees F in my Nesco dehydrator). Soaking the nuts neutralizes phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid blocks mineral absorption of calcium and magnesium; enzyme inhibitors make nuts hard to digest. You could just make a large batch of crispy nuts to have on hand, and they are also much tastier for snacking that way, too. If the weather is nice, you can put the dehydrator on the back porch during the day to cut down on the heat and noise in the house.

This recipe is part of Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, and Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade!

22 comments:

kitblu said...

Thanks so much for bar with no sweetener required. I have been disappointed in recipes that purport to be 'sugar free' but includes massive amounts of other sweetener.
I will be subscribe to your newsletter and researching Weston A. Price. I have about him but know nothing.

Sarah Smith said...

Great! I hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are interested in learning more about Weston A. Price, you could look at this article:
http://www.westonaprice.org/traditional-diets/622-ancient-dietary-wisdom.html

Kelsey said...

Can I just say how thrilled I am to have found your blog? My husband and I are about to go grain free for a few months, and all of these recipes look so delicious. Question about this recipe - I've made bars almost exactly like this and we love them, but these have way more coconut oil than ours!! Doesn't that make them really melty if they've been out of the fridge for any length of time? Thanks for all of the recipes!! I'm going to try the cracker recipe very soon.

Sarah Smith said...

Thanks Kelsey! Yes you are right about the coconut oil. They are very melty if out of the fridge for any length of time. We usually just eat them right out of the fridge, or pack a small ice pack if taking them in a lunch pail. I should probably add a note about that to the post.

Sara said...

I made these with my son last week and they are delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Colleen Klatt said...

Yum! These are delicious! My 3.5 & 2 yr old love them. Thanks for all the great recipes.

Tyler and Kathryn said...

This sounds great! Especially for my husband on mornings he has to run out the door. I think I will even add a little hemp protein as well. Thanks!

Sally said...

We dry our crispy nuts at 110-115 for about 24-36 hours. I thought lower temps keep the nuts raw (we get non irradiated nuts). WAP says no higher than 150 so you may want to lower your drying temps a bit. but thanks for the great recipe! you can never have too many of these great bar recipes! I have a son who tolerates coconut oil but can't stand coconut it's self even the raw nut, so I'm going to try subbing with fresh rolled oats instead of shredded coconut for him. He loves oats and groats and I do have some GF groats!

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Sally,
Yes, sometimes I use a lower temperature if the nuts will be used raw. I often, though, use the nuts to make almond flour that will be baked anyway so then I like to use a higher temp so they'll be done faster.

Using oats would probably taste great. Beware, though, that there is phytic acid in oatmeal (which could be somewhat neutralized by soaking and cooking). So if tooth decay and/or bone problems are an issue for your family, you may not want to consume unsoaked oats.

By the way, there isn't any crunch left to the coconut by them time the food processor whirs it all up, so your son may not even notice that it is in this recipe.

Let me know how they turn out!

jamie said...

a suggestion to Sally: I cannot stand coconut in my food either however I want the nutrients and have found an acceptable way around it. I blend my coconut in a coffee grinder to make it powdery. This powder is undetectable to me. Hope this helps.

Marie James said...

I came to your site to see your fried green tomatoes and had to try this recipe too. I ended up with a variation because my blender got too full to process the mixture smooth. But the chunky version was delicious!

I used almond butter instead of PB and ghee instead of coconut oil. Left out the honey and was amazed at how the raisins alone sweetened it.

Next time I'll make a half batch and try to get them smooth like yours.

My only complaint is that these are just too yummy. I have to hide them from myself AND from hubby.

Sarah Smith said...

Your substitutions sound delicious! I agree, they are way too good!

Marti said...

Wow! These are amazing! I added cinnamon and didn't have coconut, so I put in some coconut flour to thicken it a bit. These are dangerously delicious! Thank you!

emilyflippinmaruna said...

how do you make crispy nuts without a dehydrator?

Sarah Smith said...

Instead of using a dehydrator, you can dry the nuts in a conventional oven at the lowest possible temp. It will take a few hours, and you'll want to stir them once every hour or so.

Wendy W. said...

For those of you who can't stand coconut, I wonder if you have ever tried the finely shredded from Tropical Traditions? My husband doesn't mind that, but hates those long strands of the sweetened stuff. I'm thinking probably people on here don't use that anyway!

Summer said...

These sound like the perfect treat to pack in my kids lunchboxes! I had better get out my dehydrator. :) Thanks!

Jody said...

Made these with almond and cashews and OMW they are amazing!!!! they only made 8 lil "muffins" though... :/ I need to double it I guess haha

Lydia Rivera said...

What a hit! I have tried this recipe with a few variations and have loved both. I used maple syrup (instead of honey) pecans and prunes. I also used a blend of macadamia nuts and almonds then added a few chocolate chips. Than you for such a wonderful recipe!

kgrimes said...

I just made these with almond butter and they are delicious!

Kelli Raines said...

Can you freeze these?

Sarah Smith said...

I don't know for certain, as I've never tried freezing them. But I bet they would freeze just fine. If you try it, please let me know how it works out!