I've been busy making lots in the kitchen - I have a toddler that is happy to sample anything that prevents me from giving her undivided attention; two kids in school that need an endless supply of snacks; a better half with a wicked sweet tooth and myself - always looking for something quick to grab that is also healthy.
I devised these bars as a cross between a granola bar to pack in lunches, a protein bar after a workout (ha! When does that happen these days?!) and a fancy square that could be served at a bridal shower.
If you've read this blog, you will see how over the last few years, I've become a major fan of the hemp products from Manitoba Harvest. A 3 tbsp serving of hemp hearts offers a whopping 10g of protein, never mind a slew of vitamins and minerals. Their hemp protein powders offer a similar nutritional profile, and I love how the Hemp Pro Fibre can substitute for much of the flour in many baking recipes!
Now onto the bars - the crust is thin and hearty, and the filling almost melts in your mouth. The hemp hearts offer a delicious nutty taste without the nuts - obviously - making them ideal to send to nut-free functions or school events.
They do remind me of the sickly sweet, condensed milk creations my mom would craft when I was younger, but without all of the sugar, dairy and guilt! I'm looking forward to sharing these at a family function and surprising them with treats that don't have to be sinful to be enjoyable.
Double Hemp Bars
1 1/2 cups oat flour (I like Only Oats brand...GF!)
1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro Fibre hemp protein powder
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp agave nectar
1 cup full-fat coconut milk, stirred before measuring
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life, or chopped dark chocolate would be fab)
1/3 cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix oat flour, coconut, Hemp Pro Fibre and salt. Add coconut oil and agave, mixing with a pastry blender or your fingers until a nice crumbly texture is achieved that holds together when pressed. Press evenly into a glass 9x13" pan.
Wipe out bowl with a paper towel. Add coconut milk, agave, tapioca, vanilla and salt and whisk until no lumps remain. Pour over crust mixture in pan. Sprinkle coconut on top evenly, then chocolate chips then hemp hearts. Gently press these into the coconut milk mixture just slightly.
Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are slightly browned and centre is bubbly. Cool, then chill in the fridge until very firm. Slice into bars or squares. Store cut bars in the fridge until ready to serve.
Tell me - what family favourite would you love to see given a healthy makeover?