I've got my work cut out from now until the school holidays and therein lies a fact. As ever more c**p makes its way into the classrooms and the children feel their AIP noses are being well and truly rubbed in it, my daughter finally comes out with her "I just want chemicals" statement. This calls for desperate measures and, despite knowing that the sweet stuff isn't doing us any favours, I am resigned to making up for it come January. Along with most of you, I'm willing to bet.
My role as on-call taxi driver to two socially active small people has stepped up, which means fewer hours in the kitchen and less time in front of the camera. How lucky then that these raw bars take just moments to put together. Delightfully dense and chewy, the faint hint of orange is just enough to inject a bit of citrus oomph but what ever you do, do not miss out the sprinkling of salt, the purpose of those jewel-like shards is to cut through the richness that the dates provide. And that they do!
One thing's for sure, if you serve these bars up over the Holidays they'll be a definite crowd pleaser, even to those unsuspecting types with reservations about your elimination diet. And think what a welcome gift they would make to any AIPers in your life. Whatever their destiny, don't forget they are treats and, although there's no need to miss out on the festivities, pace yourself, cut yourself a bit of slack and know that you can get back on track in the New Year. Along with this family.
raw coconut, orange and date bars with pink himalayan salt
These bars are a delicious treat but remember, a little goes a long way. A word about the ingredients: I have given a weight for the coconut butter, as opposed to cup measurement, because mine is rock solid at this time of year and only yields from the jar as a result of stabbing into with a sturdy knife.
(makes 16 square bars)
Print the recipe here
Line a 8x8 inch tin with parchment paper.
Make the base: Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. Discard the stones and put the dates into a food processor fitted with the 'S' blade. Add the remaining base ingredients and blitz for about 25 seconds until the mixture has come together. Tip into the prepared tin and press down with your fingers until it is flat and even.
Make the topping: Because heating orange juice with the coconut butter leaves it partial to seizing up and splitting, melt the mixture in what's known as a bain marie, or water bath.
Choose a small heatproof bowl and a pan over which the bowl fits nice and snugly. Quarter fill the pan with water and bring up to a gentle simmer. Put the coconut butter, coconut oil and orange juice into the bowl and sit it on top of the pan, making sure the bottom doesn't touch the water. Using a small whisk or wooden spoon, stir the coconut butter mixture until it has melted. Add the just boiled water and whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. You will notice the water brightens the colour and gives it a good coating consistency. Remove from the heat, wiping the bottom of the bowl and allow it to cool down for a minute or two. Next, pour the mixture over the base and, with the help of an angled palette knife, spread it evenly over the top. Place into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so until it is starting to set, sprinkle over the salt and put back into the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden completely. Slice into 16 squares.
Note: The coconut topping will soften at room temperature so store the cut bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator - for up to a week. As if!