Monday, January 3, 2011

Hatchets and Coconuts

On New Years day I had a new experience. For the first time, I cracked open a fresh coconut. It was exciting(haha who knew it could be so fun!). My first attempt was sawing it with a serrated knife which I don't think even make a mark in the coconut. My next attempt involving me karate chopping the coconut with a chef's knife. I think the knife felt more threatened then the coconut. My final attempt involved a hatchet. I went outside, placed the coconut on the driveway, and swung the hatchet. The coconut cracked on the first hit and something about cracking a coconut open with a hatchet felt very primitive and resourceful. I walked back in the house feeling very satisfied. The only disappointment of the experience was that I couldn't get the water before it spilled onto the ground...I will have to figure out method for this next time. 

So, all of this coconut karate chopping was for a raw food recipe that is out of this world. A few of the raw food recipes that I now love only tasted good to me at first. But this recipe for raw congo bars is really fantastic. These indulgent bars boost good for you, providing omega-3 fatty acids from the nuts and antioxidants from the cocoa powder. You will also notice coconut oil on the list of ingredients. There is a standing debate on whether coconut oil is beneficial or harmful, considering that it contains saturated fats. One side argues that because it is a plant-based saturated fat, it is not metabolized the same way as animal derived fats. The pro side also argues for the numerous benefits that can be gained from coconut oil: boosted immune function, shiny hair and glowing skin, and even weight loss. The other side argues that saturated fats are not good fats and therefore should be avoided. The US Food and Drug Administration supports this side. I do not avoid coconut oil nor do I drink it by the tablespoon for the health benefits it is said to provide. That said...check out these bars!

Congo Bars (Adapted from Living Raw Food)
Fudge Base:
4 cups walnuts
4 cups pecans
3 cups chocolate sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup black raisins
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup maple syrup powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

In two batches, grind walnuts and pecans in food processor until oils start to release. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Transfer to sheet pan and spread into even layer. Refrigerate until set. 

Chocolate Sauce (for Fudge Base):
1 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (I used agave)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified

Combine all ingredients in blender, except coconut oil. Add coconut oil and mix until liquified.

Vanilla Coconut Topping:
2 cups young coconut meat
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 cups dried shredded coconut

In high speed blender blend the coconut meat, agave nectar, vanilla and salt until smooth and shiny (I used a food processor which left it slightly chunky). Add coconut oil. Transfer to bowl and mix in shredded coconut. Spread over fudge base, and chill at least 30 minutes. 


  1. Sounds like a lot of work! Was it worth it. I would like to try some!