The cooked lemon bars I made the other day are truly lovely. They were great with tea and made a nice light dessert. 8 thumbs up from my household… says a lot! Anyway, I try to keep a good part of my diet raw, so making raw lemon bars helps to keep me in line (as if that’s possible!) These bars are based on my go to recipe for date nut treats. I play with this recipe a lot by changing the variety of nuts and adding flavors and spices. It’s hard to mess up dates, nut and a flavor. So it’s no surprise to me that lemon and lemon zest make a zippy bar that is bound for my recipe file! Hope you get a chance to try this one. Let me know if you do!
Raw Lemon Bars
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut + 1/2 cup more for edging when they are cut
zest of 1 organic lemon
1 cup pitted dates ~ 10-12 fresh medjool dates
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla powder or fresh vanilla bean from a piece about 1″ long
Pour the lemon juice over the raw almonds and let them soak for an hour or more.
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until the mixture comes together. The dough will look like crumbs at first and then a ball will form… possibly a paste if you continue to process. Go as far as you like. If you prefer a bar with some texture to it, then pulse for about 30 seconds. If you prefer something smooth, pulse until the mixture is sticky and smooth.
Press the dough into a 8″ x 6″ bar pan. I use a stoneware pan from the Pampered Chef. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm (this will depend on the level of moisture in your mixture and how smooth you made your dough).
When firm, cut into bars. If you want “Larabar” type bars score your pan down the middle and then into 1.5 inch strips for that classic bar shape. This size batch makes thin bars, but they are good! Snack sized bites are also yummy. My kids like little squares and balls of this mixture (search back for my chai yummies recipe for another example). If you love coconut as I do you’ll want to press the bottom and sides of your sliced bars into more shredded coconut before serving. It makes the bars really pretty and adds that extra coconutty yum to every bite!
If your mixture gets stuck in the pan or you have an issue with the texture, all is not lost! Scrape out spoonfuls of your mixture and roll it in coconut for something that easy to handle and great to snack on. You can always pop your dough back into your food processor and add more coconut or nuts to firm things up if you need to!
Variations: use different nuts (whatever you have on hand); try orange juice and orange zest instead of lemon; soften the nuts in an alternative milk and add 1 – 2 Tbsp cocoa or cacao for a chocolaty treat; macerate a few raspberries instead of the lemon juice and use that as your liquid component for a berry bar; coconut milk and hazelnuts are a divine combination. The possibilities are endless! Play with your food and find something that you love — then post it and share your ideas with me!