We could all use a healthy energy boost, particularly as the new year rolls around. These coconut, cashew and cacao bars provide just that. They’re quick and simple to make, sweetened with natural sugars, and are great for sharing.
You can swap the cashews for hazelnuts, and the pecans for sunflower or pumpkin seeds (pepitas). The coconut and cacao glaze is not essential but is truly delicious and makes the bars more of a well-deserved treat.
Prep time: 40 minutes, plus at least 2 hours chilling
300g (10½oz / 2 cups) cashew nuts
3 eggs, separated
100g (4oz / 2/3 cup) pecan nuts
100g (4oz / 1 cup) jumbo oats
50g (2oz / generous ½ cup) dried shredded (desiccated) coconut
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
8 tbsp coconut oil, melted
25 pitted medjool dates (about 450g / 1lb), roughly chopped
Coconut and cacao glaze
100g (3½fl oz / ½ cup) coconut oil, melted
100g (3½fl oz / 1/3 cup) maple syrup
70g (2½oz) raw cacao powder
3-4 tbsp boiling water
1-2 tbsp dried shredded (desiccated) coconut, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan / 325˚F fan / gas mark 4. Line a 21 x 21 cm (9 x 9 inch) square cake tin with a large sheet of plastic or saran wrap (clingfilm).
Roast the Nuts and Oats
Spread the nuts and oats over a large oven tray and roast for 8-12 minutes or until golden; set aside to cool. Once cool, tip into a food processor and pulse until very roughly chopped.
Mix Everything together and Chill
Add the desiccated (dried shredded) coconut, cacao and salt and pulse in a mixer until combined. Then add the coconut oil and dates and again, pulse so it all comes together into a sticky mixture. Pour into the lined tin, and press down firmly with the back of a spoon smoothing the top. Chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 48 hours.
Prepare the Glaze
For the glaze, whisk together the melted coconut oil and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Sift in the cocoa a little at a time, whisking as you go. Then whisk in the boiling water, a tablespoon at a time, until smooth and glossy.
Cut and Finish
Remove the energy bars from the fridge and lift out of the tin, removing the plastic or saran wrap (clingfilm). Cut into 3 strips one way, and then 6-7 strips the other way to make about 20 bars. Dip half of each bar into the cacao topping and sprinkle with a little desiccated coconut, then leave to set on baking or greaseproof paper. Repeat until you have coated all of the bars, then chill again until the topping is set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.