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CASHEW, COCONUT + CHOCOLATE TRAIL BARS + NEW YEAR'S DAY HIKING THE ATLANTIC COAST

New Year's Day is my New Year's Eve. Future over past, beginnings over endings, start as you mean to go on. I have a tradition of spending New Year's Day outdoors, breathing fresh air, preferably with a backdrop of crashing waves. So that's exactly what we did yesterday, and I made these trail bars to take along. They're chewy with a little crunch, and substantial enough to boost you up that cliff. Gluten free, grain free, sugar free.. all the good stuff with none of the bad. 

Last Christmas I was given the beautiful Green Kitchen Stories book. It's been a real joy to work through David and Louise's recipes. I like how quick and simple most of their recipes are, ideal for fitting into a working week. These bars are a mishmash of their GKS Nut, Quinoa and Chocolate bars, with a nod to My New Roots' recipe for a healthy Twix. I added and swapped according to what was in my cupboards. 

So long as you have the base stickiness at the right consistency, you should in theory be able to add in different nuts or seeds as you see fit. The coconut oil holds everything together, which in the winter will still do so away from the fridge, but in summer you'll need to eat these straight from cold. 

NEW YEAR'S DAY CASHEW, COCONUT AND CHOCOLATE TRAIL BARS

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 150g raw cashews, soaked overnight or for 1 hour in hot water
  • 8 medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (or fresh grated ginger)
  • 1 cup quinoa puffs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 100g good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut

If you haven't soaked the cashews overnight, place in a bowl and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover. Leave to soak for at least an hour, then drain. Place the cashew nuts into a strong blender and blend on high for at least 3 minutes, stopping now and then to scrape down the sides. When you're done the consistency should be like a paste. Add the tahini, salt and ginger and blend for another minute. 

Pit the dates and mash with a fork, or if your blender is strong enough add them in with the cashews and tahini and blend together. 

Melt the coconut oil in a medium pan over a very low heat. Add the cashew, tahini and date paste and mix well. It will seem like it's too stiff and sticky but with careful mixing it will come together into a ball. Remove from heat. Now add the quinoa puffs, seeds, almonds and cacao nibs. Mix well. 

Transfer to a parchment-paper lined baking tray, around 20cm x 30cm. Press the mixture into the corners, creating an even layer about 2cm high. Press down with the flat of your hands to compress everything. Transfer to fridge.

Melt the chocolate slowly in a bain marie or bowl over a pan of boiling water. Pour melted chocolate evenly over the top of your baking tray layer, spreading into the corners with a palette knife. Sprinkle the dessicated coconut on top of the chocolate layer and transfer to the fridge until cold. When ready, turn out onto a board and cut into even pieces with a large sharp knife. Keeps in the fridge for a few days, or freezes well. 

Prep time: 40 mins. Chill time: 2 hours