Why is it so utterly satisfying when you can make a delicious dessert out of essentially three things?! Is it just me, or do simple food fusions like that make anyone else giddy?
Ok, three things isn't exactly accurate, because some of them make an appearance in different forms (shredded coconut and coconut sugar, for instance), so I guess my "giddiness" about the above distills more to the concept that some plant foods are like a gift that keeps on giving in different forms, and simple combinations of these foods can give you things like these yummy coconut date macadamia bars. ✨
Coconut, dates, and macadamia nuts are a given here, and enable these bars to come together with no oils or flours or added flavors. Not even vanilla (shocking, I know, since I use it in pretty much everything, but in this recipe there was no need). They're flavorful enough on their own. Although I'm debating an orange-flavored spin down the road (with orange zest and a bit of orange extract)..
If you can't find macadamia, try cashews, pecans, or another nut, or sunflower seeds (though the flavors will change accordingly of course).
The real star of the show though is the dates. More precisely the date syrup. I've held off for so long buying it because of $$, but finally caved in. And WOW. That's all. Just one ingredient and you've got yourself liquid caramel. I'm a convert.
Bonus: I bought some that came in a squeeze bottle and it was awesome for drizzling extra "caramel" on top. (Or you can just use a piping bag or cake icing pen if you get yours in a jar).
A few functional notes:
I definitely think the date syrup is worth the splurge. Especially this time of year ✨? But if you can't find any or want to get by without, maple syrup or coconut nectar will work great inside these bars as a substitute for the syrup.
I topped them with some sprinkled dehydrated coconut water powder. Powdered coconut milk will work great too, and is my usual go-to for snowy, "powdered sugar"-coated looking treats, but I was all out and dehydrated coconut water did the trick quite well. Just be sure to sprinkle once they are fully cooled off so the white doesn't disappear in the steam.
A few more bonus point for baking these: your house will smell incredible, your tummy will he happy, and your friends will be over in seconds for some samples, especially once they see all that date "caramel" pooling up on top of the bars...
Coconut Macadamia Date Caramel Bars
Coconut, macadamias, and dates combine to form the most flavorful vegan snack bars. Rich and satisfying, they are gluten-free and smell so wonderful baking!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 8 bars
- Category: Bars
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 1 ½ cups raw macadamia nuts
- 1 ½ cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup date syrup
- 5 soft medjool dates, pitted
- ¼ tsp salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line an 8" x 6" tupperware container (or any oven-safe dish of a similar size) with parchment paper and set aside.
- Process all bars ingredients in a food processor into a fine sticky crumble. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press down into a flat even layer. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and press it down even more with a flat-bottomed object to compress the mixture as much as possible. Optional: press a few macadamia halves into the top.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for approx 20 mins. Remove from oven and cool on a rack (they will appear softer at first but will firm up as they cool). Cut into pieces, dust with powdered coconut water (using a sieve), drizzle with extra date syrup and enjoy! Store leftovers in a sealed tupperware container.
*When buying coconut water or milk powder, be sure to check the ingredients. Some products out there contain dairy milk as an additive.
Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made these today, and they are fantastic! We are really enjoying them! Like Julie (above comment), I cannot have coconut. So I added 1/2 c. more macademia nuts, 1/2 c. rolled oats and 1/2 c. hemp seeds! I also omitted the coconut sugar and found this recipe sweet enough for us without it. I have never used date syrup before, and I really like it! Will make this recipe again....and I'm sure again!:)
Hi Sheryl. I'm so glad you made it work for your taste. Thanks so much for sharing all that -- I'm sure others will find it helpful!
OMG, the pics are breathtaking, Audrey! The bars look so decadent, wish I could have one now!
I feel that way about pretty much everything I put date syrup on :) (and thank you!)
Any alternative to date syrup if we can't find it?
Hey Katie. Yep, you've got options. I outlined some alternatives in the post above the recipe.
In Australia there's a different brand I'm aware of -- Kind Solomon -- that's very good (though pricier for us here in Canada). My friend told me she gets it at IGA.
What happens if this goes straight into the freezer (raw), instead of the oven?
Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent!
Hey Jacinta. Well, because it's an oil-free recipe, the binding of the mixture into being a "bar" happens due to the coconut sugar melting and then firming up again in the process of baking. That said, you can just add a bit of coconut oil to the mixture and then freeze instead of bake, and you should end up with some yummy frozen raw bars ?
Hi, this looks awesome! The texture kind of reminds me of the inside of a baklava. I really want to make this but I cannot eat coconut, would you know of a replacement I can use instead? Thanks!
Yes, it actually tastes a bit like baklava, Julie :)
Just add more macadamia nuts (or another kind of nut, if you prefer) in place of the shredded coconut. In place of coconut sugar, you can use date sugar or sucanat (or another dry refined sugar-free sweetener).
Great! Would the extra nuts be in the same amount as the coconut?
Yes, you can do the same amount, or can reduce by 1/2 a cup (because shredded coconut is looser and less dense than nuts). It'll work either way though.
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
Gah date syrup--so good!! I've only splurged on it once (and finished the bottle way too fast!) but it is so amazing. I get way most excited about the simple combos too :) It's more magical when flavors just naturally mesh like I can imagine these do so wonderfully. The pinch of salt to balance the sweet caramel-y date syrup--mmm sounds perfect!
Hehe. Yeah, I remember your date syrup adventure. I just stocked up on a few more bottles :D -- don't think it's a habit that's gonna go away any time soon for me.
Sarah | Well and Full says
I need to get on the date syrup train!! It looks delicious! :D
It *is* :) Try it!