I’ve only recently become smitten with the combination of pineapple and coconut. Previously, I only associated it with piña coladas, a drink that has never done anything for me. But then a few months ago I dined at a DC restaurant and was intrigued by a dessert on the menu- a coconut pineapple panna cotta with rum gel and espuma colada (a piña colada foam). Some trendy ingredients, but I didn’t care. It was heaven on a plate.
I don’t know that I would have even ordered the dessert if it weren’t for a good friend of mine, Shanna, who writes an excellent food blog called Pineapple and Coconut. She got the flavor combination stuck in my brain. And now I want to use it in everything- smoothies, desserts, breakfasts, etc. I used the combo to adapt my No Bake Toasted Coconut Bars recipe (there are step-by-step photos at the link). Not to toot my own horn but these are really delicious (and healthy).
The recipe uses a specialty ingredient which you can recreate at home if you’re unable to locate it; freeze-dried pineapple. I found it at Whole Foods. You might be able to use regular store-bought dried pineapple but I like this stuff because it’s crunchy and it blends well into the bars. Regular dried fruit is typically chewy. I have not tested this recipe with dried pineapple so I cannot guarantee success.
While these bars are healthy, they’re also very calorie dense between the nuts and coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend more than one a day. But trust me, you’ll be tempted.
- ⅔ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups unsalted cashews
- 1 cup freeze-dried pineapple
- 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Spread the coconut evenly across a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3 minutes. Stir well and then cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden and fragrant.
- Set the toasted coconut aside and use the same baking sheet to toast the cashews for an additional 5 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the coconut, cashews, dried pineapple, dates, and salt into a food processor.
- Pulse the ingredients until they’re crumb-sized (a few larger pieces are fine).
- Add the coconut butter and ½ tablespoon coconut oil to the food processor and continue pulsing until the mixture begins to clump. If it seems dry, add another ½ tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Line an 8 x 8-inch brownie pan with parchment paper, allowing two sides to hang over the side of the pan. Dab a bit of coconut oil on the brownie pan to help the parchment stick to the two longer sides. Press the mixture into the pan, using a piece of plastic wrap to help flatten the mixture evenly. Freeze the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes and then slice the bars into 8 pieces.
- Wrap the bars individually and store in the refrigerator or freezer. (I like them frozen!)
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