Coconut Lemon Bars

Initially I wanted to upload this recipe yesterday but I had a bit of an unfortunate situation occur that kept me occupied for the day. The situation I am referring to involved a hand blender and my finger… Yes, I did the unspeakable and accidentally turned my hand blender on full speed while my finger was trying to scoop out the mixture that was stuck inside. The result was half of my fingernail gone, my finger bleeding like a stuck pig (horrible expression, I know) and blood all over the kitchen counter. I learned my lesson though. Cooking is a dangerous hobby. Might even give it up altogether… OK, not really.

Granted, it could have been a lot worse. Luckily I am not even remotely squeamish about blood and open wounds. Heck, I even wanted to be a vet as a child and spent the majority of my childhood watching operations on Animal Planet (not as disturbing as it sounds). And this is far from the first time I have injured my fingers. In fact I have had the exact same finger almost bitten off by a Northern pike fish (I am a vegan, aren’t they supposed to love me??) and stuck in a door. I decided against going to a doctor since it looked as if my nail took most of the beating this time meaning I most likely will not need stitches and simply patched myself up (and did not mention this to my mother since she has a habit of freaking out when I hurt myself (which is far too often). If you read this, sorry mom!). Now, five hours later, the bleeding has finally stopped and the throbbing has slowed down. I would include pictures of my mangled nail but that would probably not be very decent of me. Now that I have thoroughly grossed you out, shall I move on to talk about the recipe perhaps?

If my finger had to suffer for a recipe, I am happy it was at least a good one! There is hardly a more fitting dessert for spring than lemon bars. I have wanted to make a recipe like this for ages, but had not gotten around to doing so before now.

Raw Vegan Coconut Lemon Bars Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • a pinch of maldon salt

for the lemon filling:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup homemade coconut butter (or read other option below) *
  • juice and zest from 3 lemons
  • seed from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)
  • a pinch of maldon salt

Optional garnish ideas:

  • additional lemon zest
  • shredded coconut

Raw Vegan Coconut Lemon Bars Directions:

  1. Start by making the crust. Add all the dry ingredients together in a food processor and process until crumbly. Now add in the dates as well and continue processing until you have a sticky dough. Press this into a medium-sized square pan (I used a pie pan for these pictures, but I would not recommend it!) and store in the fridge while making the filling.
  2. Add all the ingredients for the filling, except for the coconut cream/butter, into a food processor/high-speed blender and process the mixture until completely smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the coconut cream/butter and continue processing until it has a creamy consistency. Pour this over the crust and flatten the top using a spatula.
  3. Transfer this into the freezer and let it sit overnight to set. Remove from freezer the next day and cut into squares. Let let the squares sit at room temperature for 1-3 hours before serving (any longer than that you should place it in the fridge!). Store any left-overs in the freezer and it should keep for up to a month. Enjoy!

Additional notes (*):

I made two versions of this, one fully raw and one simple no-bake version. The only difference lies in the coconut butter used for the lemon filling. Instead of using 3/4 cup coconut butter you can use 2 cups coconut cream (see next point), provided you use 1/2 cup less almond milk. Depending on what brand of coconut cream you have, you might have to add in 1/2 – 1 1/2 cup raw cashews for it to reach the right consistency The batter should be thick enough to spread with a spatula. If you use coconut butter, the end result will be a bit more ice-cream like, whereas if you use coconut cream, the filling will be light and frothy. I preferred the latter version but you can choose for yourself. The pictures in this post is made with coconut butter.

Coconut cream is essentially just full-fat coconut milk that has been stored in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (preferably over-night). Take it out of the fridge and scoop out the hardened coconut cream that you find on the top of the can. The reason for doing this is to allow the added water and coconut mass to separate. All of the water will have gathered at the bottom of the can, which is not going to be used when a recipe calls for coconut cream.

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