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Monday, June 8, 2020

No-Bake Cashew Dream Bars (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free)

These bars are smooth and sweet with a hint of vanilla and lemon.  And, the date-sweetened pecan crust adds just the right amount of crunch.  Dreamy, am I right?  

Besides the ingredients, you'll need a food processor/blender, 5X8 dish, and a freezer.  No baking required!  The hardest part about this recipe is digging in too early -- and there's nothing wrong with that. ;)  But, as with many things, patience yields the best result.


For the crust:
4 pitted dates
3/4 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons agave syrup (sub maple syrup)

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/2 cup water (sub coconut milk for extra creaminess)
1/3 cup agave syrup (sub maple syrup)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted into liquid form
 --Note: do not sub any other type of oil as this is what keeps the bars solid
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest *optional*


Following these instructions exactly will provide the best results.

1. Prepare the crust: In a food processor/blender, blend the dates until they are broken down into small pieces.  Add in the pecan halves, coconut oil, salt and agave syrup and process until the mixture is sticky (about 30 seconds).
2. In a 5x8 dish, lined with parchment paper, press the pecan-date crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the lined dish.  Note: you could probably pull off no parchment paper, but parchment paper helps keep the crust together upon removal from the dish. 
3. Place the dish/crust into the freezer to set while working on the next steps.
4. Rinse and drain the soaked cashews.
5. In a food processor/blender, blend the soaked cashews, water, agave syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and optional lemon zest for 3 to 5 minutes and until the mixture is smooth.
6. Pour the creamy cashew mixture onto the crust and evenly spread throughout with a spatula.  Gently tap the dish against a counter or hard surface for an even smoother top.
7.  Freeze the bars for 4-5 hours.
8.  When you are ready to eat the bars, cut the bars into squares immediately after removing the bars from the freezer.
9.  Remove the number of bars you plan to serve from the dish to a serving dish and allow them to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes (unless you're into the ice cream thing).  If you aren't serving all of the bars, place the extra bars in an airtight container (to avoid freezer burn) and refreeze for up to a few weeks.
10.  Serve with your favorite fruits and enjoy!  If you have leftover thawed bars, refrigerate the bars in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


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