WHOLEFOOD BARS

Our up­lift­ing, bet­ter-for-you treats sat­isfy sweet crav­ings

donna hay - - Contents - pho­tog­ra­phy ANSON SMART styling STEVE PEARCE

Adorned with or­nate fin­ishes, DEL­I­CATE trim­mings and bright flour­ishes, these rec­tan­gu­lar treats are the im­age of DECADENCE. And yet, their in­gre­di­ents tell a far more nour­ish­ing story. De­cep­tively rich, our bet­ter-for-you bars are teem­ing with nat­u­ral, PLANT-POW­ERED good­ness, form­ing the ul­ti­mate, up­lift­ing treat for the senses.

choco­late, or­ange and hazel­nut bars

45 fresh dates (900g), pit­ted

½ cup (160g) al­mond spread

¹⁄³ cup (65g) co­conut oil, melted

½ cup (50g) raw ca­cao pow­der 2 tea­spoons finely grated or­ange rind ½ cup (70g) roasted hazel­nuts, chopped 2 cups (50g) puffed quinoa

200g 70% dark choco­late, melted

5 dried or­ange slices, quar­tered

Place the dates, al­mond spread, co­conut oil, ca­cao and or­ange rind in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 3–4 min­utes or un­til smooth. Trans­fer to a large bowl, add the hazel­nut and puffed quinoa and mix well to com­bine.

Spoon the mix­ture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, smooth­ing the top with the back of a spoon+. Freeze for 2 hours or un­til firm. Cut into 20 bars.

Us­ing forks, dip the bars, 1 at a time, into the melted choco­late, al­low­ing the ex­cess to drip off. Place on a bak­ing tray lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per and top with a dried or­ange quar­ter. Place in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 30 min­utes or un­til set. Serve. MAKES 20.

+ The mix­ture will be quite sticky. Dip the spoon into melted co­conut oil to help spread out the mix­ture.

A clas­sic flavour pair­ing, choco­late and or­ange re­cou­ple in this IR­RE­SISTIBLE bar, made smooth in tex­ture by SILKY co­conut oil, a vel­vety al­mond spread and a GLOSSY coat­ing of dark choco­late.

We’ve raised the bar on tra­di­tional nut fudge and clas­sic brown­ies. Feel-good in­gre­di­ents give these MUCH-LOVED desserts a ben­e­fi­cial boost, while rose petals and pis­ta­chio frag­ments make for PRETTY, party-friendly fare.

pis­ta­chio and cran­berry raw brownie bars

18 fresh dates (360g), pit­ted

1 cup (100g) raw ca­cao pow­der

¼ cup (60ml) maple syrup

1½ cups (215g) al­monds

2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract

¼ cup (50g) co­conut oil, melted

1½ cups (35g) puffed quinoa

½ cup (125ml) wa­ter

1½ cups (210g) dried cran­ber­ries

½ cup (70g) pis­ta­chios, plus 1 cup (140g) ex­tra,

finely crushed

Place the dates, ca­cao pow­der, maple syrup, al­monds, vanilla, co­conut oil, puffed quinoa, wa­ter and 1 cup (150g) of the cran­ber­ries in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 2 min­utes or un­til finely chopped and well com­bined. Add the pis­ta­chios and re­main­ing cran­ber­ries and pulse un­til roughly chopped.

Spoon the mix­ture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Us­ing a small pal­ette knife, spread the mix­ture into an even layer. Top with the ex­tra crushed pis­ta­chio and press down gen­tly. Re­frig­er­ate for 2 hours or un­til firm. Cut into bars to serve. MAKES 20.

rasp­berry and rose petal fudge bars

3 cups (450g) cashews

¾ cup (150g) co­conut oil, melted

½ cup (125ml) maple syrup

1 tea­spoon rose­wa­ter

1 cup (100g) raw ca­cao pow­der

1½ cups (45g) freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries+ 1½ cups (75g) co­conut flakes, plus ¼ cup (20g)

ex­tra, chopped

1 cup (160g) al­monds, chopped

1 ta­ble­spoon dried rose petals++, chopped 50g 70% dark choco­late, melted

Place the cashews in a medium heat­proof bowl and cover with boil­ing wa­ter. Set aside to soak for 15 min­utes. Drain well.

Place the cashews, co­conut oil, maple syrup and rose­wa­ter in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 2 min­utes or un­til smooth and creamy. Add the ca­cao and process for 1 minute or un­til smooth.

Trans­fer the mix­ture to a large bowl, add the freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries, co­conut and al­mond and mix to com­bine. Spoon into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, smooth­ing the top with the back of a spoon. Re­frig­er­ate for 4 hours or un­til firm.

Place the ex­tra chopped co­conut flakes and rose petals in a small bowl and mix to com­bine. Driz­zle the fudge with the choco­late and sprin­kle with the rose petal mix­ture. Cut into bars to serve. MAKES 20.

+ You can find freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries in health food stores. ++ Dried rose petals are avail­able from se­lected del­i­catessens and cake dec­o­rat­ing stores.

earl grey caramel slice

1½ ta­ble­spoons earl grey tea leaves, plus ex­tra

for sprin­kling

2 ta­ble­spoons boil­ing wa­ter

½ cup (100g) co­conut oil, melted, plus ¼ cup (50g) ex­tra 2½ cups (190g) shred­ded co­conut

2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract

1¼ cups (165g) spelt flour, sifted

½ cup (50g) raw ca­cao pow­der, sifted

150g 70% dark choco­late, finely chopped

¼ cup (90g) honey co­conut date caramel

25 fresh dates (500g), pit­ted

½ cup (100g) co­conut oil, melted

1¼ cups (310ml) co­conut cream

Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Line a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin with non-stick bak­ing pa­per and set aside. Place the tea leaves and boil­ing wa­ter in a small bowl and set aside for 5 min­utes or un­til ab­sorbed.

Place the co­conut oil, shred­ded co­conut, vanilla, flour, ca­cao and tea mix­ture in a large bowl and mix well to com­bine. Press into the base of the tin. Cook for 10 min­utes or un­til dry to the touch.

To make the co­conut date caramel, place the dates, co­conut oil and co­conut cream in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 3 min­utes or un­til very smooth. Spoon over the base and spread evenly. Cook for 30 min­utes or un­til set. Set aside for 10 min­utes to cool slightly. Place the choco­late, honey and ex­tra co­conut oil in a small saucepan over low heat un­til melted. Pour over the slice. Place in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 30 min­utes or un­til set. Us­ing a hot knife, cut into bars. Sprin­kle with ex­tra tea leaves to serve. MAKES 20.

choco­late, rasp­berry and co­conut panna cotta bars

750g frozen rasp­ber­ries

½ cup (125ml) maple syrup

¼ cup (50g) white chia seeds

¼ cup (25g) co­conut oil

¼ cup (7g) freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries+, crushed co­conut ca­cao base

1 cup (120g) rolled oats

1 cup (80g) des­ic­cated co­conut

1 cup (120g) al­mond meal

¹⁄³ cup (65g) co­conut oil, melted

10 fresh dates (200g), pit­ted

¼ cup (25g) raw ca­cao pow­der co­conut panna cotta

¼ cup (60ml) wa­ter

1½ tea­spoons pow­dered gela­tine

1¼ cups (310ml) co­conut milk

2 ta­ble­spoons honey

Place the rasp­ber­ries and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 15–18 min­utes or un­til soft­ened and liq­uid has re­duced. Re­move from the heat and add the chia seeds and co­conut oil. Stir to com­bine and set aside for 20 min­utes to cool.

Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F). To make the co­conut ca­cao base, place the oats, co­conut, al­mond meal, co­conut oil, dates and ca­cao in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 2–3 min­utes or un­til the mix­ture comes to­gether.

Press the mix­ture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, smooth­ing the top with a spoon. Cook for 20 min­utes or un­til firm. Set aside to cool slightly. Pour the rasp­berry chia jam over the ca­cao base, smooth­ing with a pal­ette knife. Place in the re­frig­er­a­tor for 2 hours or un­til com­pletely cooled and firm.

To make the co­conut panna cotta, place the wa­ter in a small bowl and sprin­kle over the gela­tine. Stir to com­bine and set aside for 5 min­utes or un­til the gela­tine has been ab­sorbed. Place the co­conut milk and honey in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to just be­low the boil. Re­move from heat and whisk in the gela­tine mix­ture un­til dis­solved. Strain and set aside to cool com­pletely.

Pour the panna cotta mix­ture over the slice and re­frig­er­ate for 2 hours or un­til com­pletely set. Cut into bars. Top with freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries to serve. MAKES 20.

+ You can find freeze-dried rasp­ber­ries in health food stores.

gin­ger and date caramel bars

3 cups (450g) cashews

¹⁄³ cup (80ml) co­conut cream 2 tea­spoons finely grated gin­ger 1 tea­spoon ground gin­ger

¹⁄³ cup (80ml) maple syrup

¼ cup (50g) co­conut oil, melted

¼ cup (55g) crys­tallised gin­ger, sliced date and co­conut base

15 fresh dates (300g), pit­ted 1½ cups (135g) rolled oats

½ cup (100g) buck­wheat

1½ cups (120g) des­ic­cated co­conut ¹⁄³ cup (65g) co­conut oil, melted 2 ta­ble­spoons maple syrup buck­wheat crum­ble

¼ cup (50g) buck­wheat 1 tea­spoon maple syrup date caramel

5 fresh dates (100g), pit­ted ¹⁄³ cup (80ml) co­conut cream 1 ta­ble­spoon maple syrup

Pre­heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the cashews in a large heat­proof bowl, cover with boil­ing wa­ter and set aside to soak for 20 min­utes.

To make the date and co­conut base, place the dates, oats, buck­wheat, co­conut, co­conut oil and maple syrup in a food pro­ces­sor and process for 3–4 min­utes or un­til the mix­ture comes to­gether. Press the mix­ture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per, smooth­ing the top with a spoon. Cook for 15–20 min­utes or un­til firm. Set aside to cool.

Drain the cashews and place in the clean food pro­ces­sor. Add the co­conut cream, grated gin­ger, ground gin­ger, maple syrup and co­conut oil, and process for 3–4 min­utes, scrap­ing down the sides oc­ca­sion­ally un­til smooth and creamy. Us­ing a pal­ette knife, spread the cashew mix­ture over the cooled base and re­frig­er­ate for 2 hours or un­til set.

To make the buck­wheat crum­ble, place the buck­wheat and maple syrup on a small bak­ing tray lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per and toss to com­bine. Cook for 10 min­utes or un­til golden. Set aside to cool com­pletely.

To make the date caramel, place the dates, co­conut cream and maple syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, re­duce the heat to low and cook for 6–8 min­utes, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til dates are soft. Us­ing a hand-held blender, blend un­til smooth. Al­low to cool com­pletely. Cut the slice into 20 bars. Spoon a lit­tle of the caramel onto each bar, sprin­kle with buck­wheat crum­ble and top with a slice of gin­ger to serve. MAKES 20.

cof­fee and ca­cao crackle bars

2 cups (30g) puffed brown rice

½ cup (90g) ca­cao nibs

½ cup (95g) dark-choco­late-coated cof­fee beans, chopped 2 cups (160g) shred­ded co­conut

200g 70% dark choco­late, melted

½ cup (50g) raw ca­cao pow­der, sifted

½ cup (100g) co­conut oil, melted

2 ta­ble­spoons honey

Place the puffed rice, ca­cao nibs, cof­fee bean, co­conut, choco­late, ca­cao, co­conut oil and honey in a large bowl and mix well to com­bine.

Spoon the mix­ture into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non-stick bak­ing pa­per. Us­ing the back of a spoon, smooth the top into an even layer. Re­frig­er­ate for 2 hours or un­til firm and set. Slice into bars to serve. MAKES 20.

A favourite, MOD­ERN these spin are on no a or­di­nary child­hood choco­late crack­les. With CRUNCHY, choco­late-cov­ered cof­fee beans and en­er­gis­ing ca­cao nibs in the mix, they’re GROWN-UP treats that give a fa­mil­iar nod to nos­tal­gia.

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