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Raw Coconut Bounty Bars

There are various national coffee shop chains in the UK that still refuse to acknowledge that dairy and gluten intolerances/ allergies are a very real thing. In the half a dozen plus local coffee shops (I live in the very unhip suburban sticks) there is only ONE coffee shop that actually sells DF and GF baked goods. In some cases there isn't even an alternative to dairy milk, resulting in a rather joyless black cup of basic coffee to accompany the empty side plate bearing the mirage of a muffin/cake/cookie,  rendering the entire experience a near zero-calorie (zero-fun) experience.

Raw Coconut Bounty Bars

Yes,  I know how unhealthy random snacking on treats is and I should be glad of the enforced redemption from sugar laden goodies but sometimes it's just nice to know the choice is mine.

Last week I ventured to London, invoking all sorts of nostalgia for the pre-children me, where, with my rose-tinted glasses, I was impeccably dressed, had a dazzling career and lived life with such gleeful freedom. In reality, I worked hideous hours surrounded by a bunch of sexist males (that's unfair; they weren't all sexist) and suffered chronic ankle issues and tendonitis from the continual wearing of 5 inch stilettos.

Anyway I digress, in Pret A Manger, they stock ONE dairy and gluten free treat item! The 'Chocolatey Coconut Bite'. And it is scrumptious. Though a tad sugary. So I decided to have a play with making my own.

There is the option to make these completely without any added sweetener - if you like your chocolate super bitter and, if the idea of making your own chocolate sounds like too much of a faff, then just melt a good quality high cocoa content bar of chocolate and coat the coconut filling accordingly.

Word of warning - this is one for the SERIOUS COCONUT LOVERS.

Raw Coconut Bounty Bars
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free
Makes 5 bars

Coconut filling:
55g raw coconut cream grated**
55g unsweetened dessicated coconut
3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (the solid part from a can of coconut milk)
20g raw virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

60g raw virgin coconut oil
3 tbsp (approx 23g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp maple syrup to taste (feel free to omit if you like your chocolate bitter)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

Optional decoration: lingonberry powder or some cacao nibs
**NOTE: this is not the coconut cream at the top of a can of coconut milk but is actually 100% concentrated coconut and comes solid in a jar or block - I use this one by Tiana but have no affiliation)

1. In a double boiler aka bowl suspended over a saucepan of gently simmering water (ensuring base of bowl doesn't touch water), make the coconut filling by melting coconut cream, coconut milk, vanilla and coconut oil with pinch of salt.
2. Once smooth and creamy remove bowl from heat and add dessicated coconut. Stir to combine.
3. Line a small tupperware or loaf tin with clingfilm and press coconut mix smoothly and firmly to form a flat layer. Set in freezer to set for 30mins while making chocolate.
4. To make chocolate, in a clean double boiler, melt coconut oil with maple syrup (if using), vanilla, salt and cocoa powder, mixing gently until smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
5. Remove coconut filling from freezer and carefully cut into slices with a sharp knife.
6. Using 2 forks lower each bar in turn into the melted chocolate, turning to coat evenly. Lay on parchment to set. Once the last bar has been coated the first one will already be set (as the coconut filling has been in the freezer) so repeat the process and give each bar a second coat.
7. I continued to give a third coat for even better coverage and then used the remaining chocolate to make some pretty drizzles then decorated with a dusting of lingonberry powder for fun.
8. Refrigerate to set. Trim the edges of each bar with a sharp knife before completely set if you want them to look prettier.
9. Store in refrigerator in sealed container.