Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bitter Chocolate, Cherry, and Sea Salt Coconut Bars

I am always looking for ways to incorporate more coconut into my diet.  I love the almost instant metabolism boost I seem to get from it and all those awesome medium-chain saturated fats.  Plus, I can get huge bags of unsweetened coconut powder (really just shredded coconut but a bit finer) at the Indian market for next to nothing.  I was a little skeptical about how these coconut bars would turn out, I had intended for them to be cookies but the mixture was so dry I decided to go for a bar instead.  What a happy accident it turned out to be!  With only a few ingredients and totally ridiculously yummy, you have got to get in the kitchen and try these out asap!

Bitter Chocolate, Dried Cherry, and Sea Salt Coconut Bars 
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 whole egg and 1 egg white
1/4 cup sweetener, like Stevia in the Raw
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cherries
1/3 cup unsweetened chocolate chunks, or dark chocolate chunks if you can tolerate a little sugar, or sugar free chocolate chips if you can find them
Optional- 1/3 cup white chocolate chips if you can have a little sugar, chopped pecans or walnuts, or other dried fruit
Sea Salt, for finishing

Preheat your oven to 350.  Grease a 9x9 pan.  In a large bowl, combine coconut, egg, vanilla, oil, and sweetener and mix well.  Add in cherries and chocolate and whatever else you're using.  Transfer to 9x9 and press down firmly to distribute in an even layer.  The mixture will be on the drier side but that's ok- the egg will pull it together.  Sprinkle sea salt over the top and bake for 25 minutes or so or until the top is golden brown.  Another idea would be to spread sugar free preserves over the top.  These bars easily fulfill all my requirements for the perfect homemade dessert.  One bowl, a handful of ingredients, hardly any clean-up, and soooooo yummy.  Do not omit the sea salt- that clean salty taste you get when you first bite into it is the best part!  I personally used 72% dark chocolate chunks but if you want to go sugar free all the way- use chopped unsweetened chocolate or sugar free chocolate chips, or even better, cocao nibs.  Enjoy!!

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