Baking with whole ingredients and unrefined sugars has been my default the last few years. If I’m going to eat a muffin or a bar, it might as well be made with natural sweeteners like dates and maple syrup instead of white sugar, with almond meal and oats instead of white flour, olive or coconut oil instead of canola. These nourishing ingredients provide sustaining energy and healthy fats, without sacrificing flavor or texture. These lemon coconut bars from Julie Morris’s cookbook Superfood Kitchen are a perfect example. They are moist and chewy, and packed with fiber and Omegas. Lemon and coconut happen to be my mother’s favorite flavors, so I shipped out a batch in the mail for her today.
Lemon Coconut Breakfast Bars
from Superfood Kitchen
makes 16 2×2-inch bars
1 1/2 tblsp chia seeds (I used chia powder and added 1 tblsp hemp seeds)
3 tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup + 2 tblsp shredded dried coconut, divided (I toasted until golden brown first)
2 tblsp fresh lemon zest
2 tblsp unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates (about 5 or 6), pits removed
1. Preheat the oven to 300º F. Lightly grease or place a sheet of parchment paper in an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix the chia seeds (or meal) with the lemon juice. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds to become saturated and bulk up, stirring once.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup coconut flakes. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and mix again until distributed. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, applesauce, and maple syrup. Mix in the soaked chia seeds. Chop the dates very finely (I used a food processor), and mix in with the other wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until blended. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, using a spatula or wet fingers to flatten out the surface. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut on top, patting it down lightly into the mixture.
4. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Let cool slightly, and cut into 16 squares while still warm.