When I look up recipes for school-friendly snacks, I’m always amazed at the recipes that include nuts. Where are these schools that allow kids to bring nuts? I wish I could offer my kids nuts as snacks, but with all the allergies happening in schools, I need to find other alternatives.
I should also premise this by saying that my kids aren’t entirely paleo, (yet!) so for a long time I would just buy granola bars, that had a giant NO PEANUTS sign on it, because it was safe and easy to throw in their lunches.
I’ve been trying to come up with something that I could put into their lunches that could easily replace granola bars, be healthy while still being delicious, and that I could make in a big batch so that it was readily available to put in their lunches.
Enter coconut butter. A few weeks ago I found a recipe on how to make my own coconut butter and I had a huge forehead-slapping moment. I make almond butter for the kids, and I had never thought about doing it with coconut. It couldn’t be easier. Take unsweetened, shredded coconut and toss it in the food processor and blend until it’s a creamy consistency.
At first it’s really creamy, and after a couple of hours it solidifies. It’s the perfect binding agent for some kind lara-bar-esque snack.
Behold! Coconut Butter Bark!
4 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1-2 TBLS coconut oil (optional)+ more for greasing parchment paper
9 cooking dates
1/2 cup chocolate chunks/chips
Take a piece of parchment paper the size of a large baking pan and grease it with coconut oil.
Depending on the size of your food processor, add either all of the shredded coconut, or two cups at a time to make a double batch.
Blend the coconut until it’s a creamy consistency.
(At this point, you can add the 1-2 TBLS of coconut oil. This will make the bark a little softer. I’ve made it with and without the oil, and I prefer it without. I just think adding the oil is a good way to get more healthy fats into my kids’ diet.)
Add the dates to the coconut and blend some more, until the dates are incorporated.
Add the chocolate chunks/chips and pulse a couple of times. You still want them to be chunky, just blended a little bit.
Take the mixture and smooth it out as much as you can across the parchment. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like. The thicker you make it, the harder it is to break it into bark chunks.
Place the tray in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until it hardens. Alternatively, place in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Take out the tray and start breaking the large piece into hand-sized pieces, or whatever size suits your fancy.
I like to keep mine in a ziplock bag in the freezer. This makes enough for my two daughter’s to enjoy all week at school, with 2-3 bark pieces per day. Plus my son and I snack on them a bit too. As long as I don’t eat too much, it doesn’t affect my blood glucose too much, which is a huge plus.
You could make an endless variety of ‘bark’ with this recipe. You could add nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or whatever you think might go well with the coconut butter. You could even omit the chocolate chips and just use the dates. Even better, you could make just coconut butter bark without any additions, (or maybe just some unrefined coconut oil) to make a delicious treat for the 21-Day Sugar Detox!
This was written as a guest post for The Paleo Parents. Check them out for their amazing family-friendly recipes!