Coconut and Nut Treats
September 6, 2017Categories: Sweets - Bars
These versatile gluten free coconut and nut bars are made with honey and are a much healthier treat than a candy bar.
Prep time: 10 to 20 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Makes: 4 servings Difficulty: Easy• Gluten free • Dairy free • Egg free • Grain free option • Soy free • Vegan option •
These can be customized with chocolate or seeds of your choice. These are a great replacement for crunchie candy bars, when you're trying to eat more healthy.
Use all organic ingredients. If you can get fresh coconut, then grate the amount needed. Ensure the nuts, packaged coconut and cacao are labeled gluten free.
Shopping Tips - what to look for to get the best gluten free, real ingredients for this recipe:
You want to look for organic coconut oil processed without chemicals.
You will find a variety of different kinds, such as raw, cold-pressed, fermented, expeller pressed, wet milling, etc. The main thing is that they are not processed with chemicals of any kind.
Some good coconut oil is raw, and some is fermented, and some is heat processed. These are all suitable, and with some hunting, very good quality can be found.
There is some debate as to which is the absolute best, though when just starting out using them, just try out some different types of good quality ones to find one or more that you like. Some will have a strong coconut flavor, which are nice when used in sweeter style recipes, and some have a very light, and almost non existent coconut flavor, which some prefer for savory recipes.
You want to avoid the following types of coconut oil: refined, fractionated, liquid (only), and copra.
Coconut oil will be solid at about 76 degrees F. You do not want the kind that stays liquid at cooler temperatures, as it has removed the best and most healthy part of the coconut oil.
It is best to try and find a type made from fresh coconuts. This is better simply because it’s a fresher product, that has not sat for extended periods of time prior to manufacturing. The non fresh coconuts are called copra. The extended storage time for copra can cause some deterioration, and some spoilage, that makes for a lower quality product.
You can also make your own coconut oil. Below there is a link to a You Tube video that shows you how to make both cold pressed, and heat created coconut oil.
Recent research is showing that saturated fats are not linked to heart health problems.
This topic is very popular now, and you'll need to wade through a lot of conflicting information, and emerging information. Keep an eye out as more advances are made, and old ideas are discarded.
To learn more about coconut oil, check out these 5 articles (I am NOT an affiliate of any of these):
- Healthy Traditions - What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
- Healthy Traditions - The Myth of Enzymes and Coconut Oil
- Make your own coconut oil - both raw and heat created oil "How To" in one video: How To Make a Virgin Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil and Homemade Coconut Oil
- Mercola - New Scientific Analysis Confirms Saturated Fats Have No Link to Heart Disease
- Food Babe - Is Coconut Oil Healthy? The Controversy Explained
You want to purchase only organic nuts and seeds.
This greatly reduces the pesticide residues on them. Non organic nuts and seeds are also often treated with radiation, which is not done to organic nuts and seeds.
It is more difficult to find truly raw nuts and seeds in the US, unless you are buying directly from the grower. Several US laws require varying levels of heat treatment for nuts and seeds, both traditionally grown and organic. However, nuts and seeds can still be something good for most people.
To read more about almonds, check out this article on our site:
Check out this article to learn a bit more about nuts and seeds:
All dried fruit should be organic, labeled gluten free, unsweetened, unsulfured and contain no other ingredients or additives.
Coconut - You can make your own shredded coconut from a fresh organic coconut.
Alternatively, you want to look for organic, labeled gluten free, unsweetened shredded coconut, without sulfur, and no other additives. If it does not contain sulfur it will actually need to state that, as sulfur is not always required to be on the label. It should only contain coconut. It's readily available in stores that carry organic products. There are even some labeled as gluten free.
Raisins and dried cranberries - You want to purchase organic, unsweetened raisins or dried cranberries, labeled gluten free, without sulfur, and no other additives. If it does not contain sulfur it will actually need to state that, as sulfur is not always required to be on the label. It should only contain the dried fruit. These are readily available in stores that carry organic products.
Buying organic reduces a number of toxic chemicals that can cause harm to humans. When you are required to eat gluten free, you will need to reduce all unnecessary stress on your stomach, so that it has a better chance of healing. Using organic fruits and vegetables will go a long way to achieving this.
Consumer Reports has also published a report. They have a nice summary of residues on both conventional and organic produce. This is a good place to start if this is a new topic for you, and it gives good detail, but in a readable format.
Check out this article on the benefits of organic:
You want to purchase organic, non Dutch processed, not processed with alkali, and labeled gluten free. It should only contain cocoa / cacao, and no other ingredients.
This is sometimes called baking cocoa. Do not confuse this for hot chocolate, or hot cocoa, as those are sweet, sugary drinks, and is not suitable.
The addition of alkali (also often called Dutch processed) removes the flavanoids from cocoa. That removes one of the best reasons to eat cocoa (beyond it's yummy taste).
Both cocoa and raw cacao are suitable. Both have similar health benefits. If you prefer raw, then by all means, get that kind.
Since cocoa / cacao is sometimes processed in facilities that also process gluten containing items, you want to look for the gluten free label.
Some dishes may be able to use some cacao that is available that is less processed, in the sense that it is not ground into powder. For many recipes this is completely suitable.
Check out this article about chocolate:
You want to find raw, unfiltered honey. It has many nutritional benefits over pasteurized and filtered honey.
The best place to buy it is directly from the bee farmers, either at their farm or at a farmer’s market. Sometimes smaller health food stores may carry it. There's limited regulations on the word raw, so often store bought raw honey won't actually be raw. You can hunt for a farmer who is located next to organic land or wild land, and it will be the least contaminated.
Raw unfiltered honey will not be crystal clear. It should be crystal like, and have small or tiny "floaties." These floaties are bee pollen, honeycomb bits, propolis, and even broken bee wing fragments. Some farmers will have some light filtering, which will be simply a course sieve. This will remove the wings, but leave in the smaller bits of pollen and propolis.
Over time, raw honey will solidify. You don't want it filtered, or heated, or treated, which completely removes any benefits of honey.
For additional reading on raw and unfiltered honey, check out these 3 articles:
• 3 tablespoons Coconut oil • 1/2 cup Ground nuts of your choice (almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) • 3/4 cup Shredded, unsweetened coconut • 1/4 cup Raw cacao, cocoa or carob powder (optional) • 1 tablespoon Honey, raw and unfiltered (optional, add more to taste)
Substitutions and Notes:
- Grain free: Ensure that any nut like items you choose are grain free. There are some nut like products that are sold like nuts that are actually grains, such as toasted corn, etc.
- Honey: You can use another liquid sweetener of your choice, such as agave or maple syrup. If you choose to not use a sweetener these won't hold together quite as well, but they still are delicious.
- Vegan: Choose a non animal based liquid sweetener of your choice, instead of honey, such as agave or maple syrup.
- Melt the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Remove from heat as soon as the coconut oil is completely melted.
- Add the cacao powder, ground nuts and coconut and mix together.
- Line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Pour mixture into pan.
- Let cool until cool enough to touch. Press into pan or into the desired shape.
- Refrigerate or freeze until hardened. Cut into 4 servings.
- To change the texture and flavor, add two tablespoons almond butter.
- Add some unsulfured raisins or cranberries.
- Change out some or all of the nuts with the seeds of your choice, such as hemp or sunflower seeds.