I like to read the labels on the foods I try. That way I can go home and try to replicate or improve on things I have purchased or sampled.
When I was in L.A. for the Surf City marathon, I had a gluten-free chocolate-coconut bar that I wanted to try making at home. Here’s my rendition:
Chocolate Walnut Brownies with Coconut
Total preparation time: about 30 minutes
1 cup date crystals
8 ounces coconut water for soaking
1½ cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
2 cups walnut pieces
1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds or pecan halves
1½ cups chocolate chips (bitter or semisweet)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325° F, and line an 8×8 cake pan with parchment paper.
Combine date crystals, 3/4 cup of the shredded, unsweetened coconut and coconut water in a 2-quart saucepan. Simmer, while covered, until most of the water is absorbed and the dates have been reconstituted (about 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a food processor (I use my 11-cup bowl), pulse together walnuts, almonds (or pecans), remaining 3/4 cup shredded coconut, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and salt.
Once the coconut-date paste has cooled almost to room temperature, add it to the other ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until well combined (this should take about 45 seconds). It will be a thick, sticky dough.
Wet your hands to prevent sticking, and press the dough into your prepared pan. I made mine about 1 inch thick.
Tina’s Tip: You could also make cookies with this dough. Just form it into balls and flatten them on a parchment-lined sheet before baking.
Bake in the 325° F oven for about 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.