As the weather starts to get chillier and more fall-like in New England, it’s very easy to start dreaming of traveling somewhere tropical. While a warm weather vacation may not be in the cards, at least we can recreate the flavors of vacation at home! Imagine sticky mango, flavorful coconut, and the sweetness of dates…this all comes together to create a tropical flavor explosion.
These vegan energy bars contain tropical flavors in this combination, but are effortlessly adaptable based on ingredients you have at home (other dried fruits, nuts or nut butters, or mix ins) or flavors you’re looking to create. They come together quickly, and after chilling for an hour, are ready to eat. Just picture yourself sitting on a beach somewhere as you eat this, even if it’s just rushing from work to a yoga class. Give yourself a break and the energy you need with this tropical snack.
Simply measure your ingredients, mix together in a foodprocessor, and press into a pan. Let them chill, cut them up, and you’re ready to go. Because this recipe contains so few ingredients, it would be a fun and easy for kids to measure the ingredients, as long as the adult handles the food processing and sharp blades. They can be used as a snack or even a healthy dessert after a meal. Vegans and non-vegans alike will love these tasty treats!
Yield: 8 bars
Time: 5 active minutes plus 1 hour chilling time
· 1 cup pitted medjool dates
· about 3/4 cup dried mango (one 4 oz package)
· 1/4 chia seeds
· 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
· 2 tbsp almond butter or other nut butter
· 1-2 tablespoons water, if needed
1. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 square pan with parchment paper. You can also use a loaf pan, that just means your bars will be smaller and thicker.
2. Put all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and process by pulsing. You will probably need to pause every 30 seconds to scrape the sides of the processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture clumps together and forms a large ball. This may take a few minutes, and it will not be entirely homogeneous. If the mixture seems dry and is not coming together, add in 1-2 tablespoons water in until desired consistency is reached. It should be sticky and mixed thoroughly, though small bits of ingredients will remain. This will give the bar texture and ensure you taste all the flavors separately.
3. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan, and press down and out, spreading the mixture out evenly. If needed, you can cover the top with more parchment and press down on top of the parchment paper to press down if the mixture seems too sticky. If you want the bars to be even, flatten the top of the bars with the bottom of a glass pressed down on top of top layer of parchment. Perfection does not have to be the goal here. Even if your bars are uneven, they will still taste amazing.
4. Refrigerate for one hour, then slice into 8 bars or squares. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week, if they last that long! They can also be stored in the freezer to firm them up. Wrapping each bar in parchment is not necessary, but it does make them easier to transport and eat since they are quite sticky at room temperature.
By Kim Daniels
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