I’m trying to be healthy. I swear. I really am…and not for the reasons you think. I’m tired of listening to my coworkers complain about the goodies I bring in or tell me their on a diet or that they can’t eat gluten or dairy or whatever. SO, I’m trying to make healthy little treats. You’re welcome.
These are quick, simple and DELISH! I tweaked the recipe from Shutterbean but have fun with it. I tried another version with dried mango and cranberries – it was an epic fail (WAY too crumbly/fall aparty but still tasty). The fleshy little apricots make just the right consistency for bar shaped healthy goodness. Also, I recommend keeping them in the freezer and snacking on them while they’re super cold.
Happy Healthy Eating!
Apricot Cashew Coconut Bars aka Apricot Heaven
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 2 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup flaked coconut (i tried it with ground coconut too)
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoons agave syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or just soft - it was hot when i made these!)
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Line a 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- Using a food processor, grind up the cashews and pecans (set aside) then using the same food processor machine (don't wash it - you're gonna mix all this stuff in a minute), mix up those apricots til they're consistently chopped/mushed up.
- Keeping the apricots in the mixer, add coconut, oats, agave syrup, coconut oil, chia seeds, ginger and salt. Process until mixture comes together.
- Add the chopped cashews/pecan mixture and pulse until well combined.
- Put the apricot coconut mixture in the parchment lined baking pan and firmly press into pan (I find a measuring spoon does the trick). Cover the bars and place in a freezer for one hour to set.
- Take them out and slice them up. Try not to eat all of them.
- Put them back in the fridge or the freezer. Enjoy!
This weekend I set off to make Almond Joy cupcakes for my Carolyn and Glen’s Easter Brunch.
After scouring the web for Spring/Easter cupcake ideas, I landed on Martha Stewart’s blue birds (http://www.marthastewart.com/319320/nesting-baby-bluebird-cupcakes) and decided to kick it up a notch with some ganache and almond cream cheese frosting. So i ended up with chocolate almond cupcakes with whipped chocolate ganache centers, almond cream cheese frosting with toasted coconut and butter cream blue birds (and candy robin eggs in some of them!).
This was a bit labor intense – I made the cupcakes, ganache, toasted coconut and two batches of cream cheese frosting (with portions for blue and yellow) and mini cake nests. Oh and I made whoopie pies too, but that was just to use my new pan so we won’t even count that here. I did all this in stages on Saturday. I baked everything and prepped the frosting, then went for a 7 mile run (13.1 this weekend! woop woop!) and then showered and got down with the decorating.
Ok, down to business…
I chopped up a cup of whole almonds with a bit of sugar and coconut and folded that in to the dry ingredients (you really need to cut the flour a bit because the almonds dry things out a bit) then continued on with the rest of the chocolate cake recipe. I also added a touch of almond extract to really bring home that nutty almond flavor. I tied in the almond again with the frosting (really it was a butter cream, but I added some cream cheese to layer in the creamy flavor and play off the sweet almond flavor).
I also put together a chocolate ganache to fill these little suckers (it was a mix of dark chocolate, semi sweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate because that’s all I had in the house). I cored the cupcakes with my handy dandy cupcake corer (http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-706044/Cuisipro-Cupcake-Corer) and set these aside for later. I hate wasted good cake!
I kept all the chocolate cake cores to use to make mini cake nests. I mixed the left over cake bits with some frosting and coconut and made them in to little “nests”, then covered them in toasted coconut and piped in a little blue bird. cute cute cute. These were a big hit since they were literally just one bite!
I piped the frosting on the cupcakes to makes “nests” so there was lots more on the sides and less in the middle, then covered them in toasted coconut (did I mention I burned on batch of toasted coconut? Watch that stuff closely – it burns quickly!). I piped the blue birds in their respective nests with just a piping coupler and not tip – I needed the circle part and didn’t have a tip big enough. The beaks were pretty simple with a tiny piping tip, but the eyes… oh the eyes. I used black piping gel and tried to get the tiniest possible dots on each bird. The smaller – the cuter they looked.
All in all, it was a very productive baking weekend. Everyone loved the cakes and the mini bites too!