It has been almost 3 months since I last posted. Yikes! We’ve had a very busy (and beautiful) spring here in Honolulu, but now that it’s almost officially summer, it feels like things are starting to slow down a bit. I created this recipe yesterday evening while my littlest one was taking an unexpected nap, and I am super excited to share it with you. Sweetened only with fruit, these tangy freezer bars are the perfect summertime treat for the whole family, and they are so easy to whip up. Ben and I each enjoyed one for dessert last night (they weren’t ready until after the boys had gone to bed), and he loved them so much that he called them “magic.” I think you’ll feel the same!
PREPARE THE CRUST:
1 cup raw cashew meal (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s, but you can easily grind raw cashews in your food processor to make your own)
7 soft Medjool dates, pits removed
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled, plus more to grease the pan
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
Drizzle a little bit of coconut oil into a dry, 9×5 inch loaf pan. Spread it around with your fingers, then line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, allowing for extra paper on the sides (you will use the excess to pull the frozen mixture out of the pan). The coconut oil on the pan prevents the parchment from slipping around while you’re trying to line the pan. Do your best to press the paper into the corners of the pan, making it as smooth as possible. Don’t worry if it looks a little awkward.
Place all of your crust ingredients, including the 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, into a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and pulse until the ingredients are all well incorporated and you have a sticky, crumbly looking “dough.” If you are making your own cashew meal, first grind the cashews, measure out exactly one cup, then add that back into the food processor with the rest of your ingredients.
Turn the dough out into your lined loaf pan, then use your fingers to press the dough into the bottom of the pan, creating your crust. You want to get the crust as evenly thick as possible. Put the pan into the freezer to allow to the crust to firm up, and get started on your filling.
FOR THE FILLING:
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (I used 2 white apple bananas from my local farmers market, but regular bananas will work just as well).
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp fresh lime juice (you may want to add a bit more if using regular bananas, as apple bananas tend to be more tart)
1 tsp (packed) lime zest
1/2 cup raw coconut butter (I love the Artisana brand)
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled
tiny pinch of fine sea salt
To prepare the filling, first mash the bananas with a fork until you reach a pureed consistency, then measure out 3/4 cup.
Place all ingredients into a bowl and process with a hand immersion blender until smooth. You can also use your regular blender to achieve the same result.
Remove the crust from the freezer. Pour the filling onto your prepared crust, then use a spatula to gently spread it out so that it’s evenly distributed over the crust, taking care to avoid thin or thick spots. When you cut your bars after freezing, you want them to have a uniform thickness.
Now put the pan into the freezer and let it all set up for at least 3 hours (it may take longer depending on how cold your freezer is). If you are going to leave it to freeze overnight, I suggest covering the pan tightly with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn.
These bars are best served straight from the freezer. When you are ready to indulge, remove the pan from the freezer and pull up on the sides of the parchment paper to remove your slab of goodness onto a cutting board, keeping the parchment paper intact.
Use a large, sharp knife to slice it into uniformly sized bars. You can make them as big or as small as you’d like. I cut mine into about 2X3 inch rectangles. I think it would also be fun to make them into little 1 inch squares for smaller fingers.
Store your Banana Lime Magic Bars in the freezer in an airtight container, and separate the bars with sheets of parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. For the best flavor, allow them to sit at room temp for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!