This week is my birthday week. I call it my birthday week because, well, I was born on a leap year – meaning I don’t have a birthday this year – and no one really quite knows when to celebrate my birthday. I like to celebrate on the 28th, since it’s still in February, but I obviously don’t mind celebrating on the 1st of March, either. Who would pass up more than one birthday celebration?! This year will be particularly interesting because it’s also my 21st birthday. Um, which day am I allowed to purchase alcohol? Midnight on the 1st – right in between the 28th and 1st? On the 28th? What would make this way easier if my driver’s license had the “Under 21 until such and such date” like the PA licenses do. But since I got my license in NY, they’re not quite as helpful. Usually it would expire on my 21st birthday, but since I didn’t get my license till later, it doesn’t expire until 2015. So.. we’ll see!
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups dates, soaked for about 10 minutes in hot water
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/8 t salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and coconut together until in fine crumbs. Add in the honey, vanilla, and sea salt, and process until a moist dough forms.
Press the dough into a parchment lined 9×9 inch baking pan.
Toast the shredded coconut at 350ºF for about 5-8 minutes, until golden (be careful not to burn it). Allow it to cool while you make the “caramel.”
After soaking the dates, drain the water, and pulse in a food processor until a paste forms. Add the coconut milk, vanilla, and salt, and process until smooth. Add the shredded coconut, and pulse until just combined.
Scoop the coconut “caramel” mixture out, and spread it evenly across the top of the “shortbread” base.
Cut into squares, and then transfer to the freezer for about 15 minutes, until set.
Place the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl, and microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until fully melted.
Remove the bars from the freezer, and dip each bar into the chocolate to coat the bottom. Once dipped, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat the dipping with each bar.
Once all the bars are dipped, remelt the remaining chocolate (if it has hardened), and then transfer it to a small ziplock bag using a rubber spatula. Snip off the corner of the bag, and drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
Place back in the freezer for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened, and then transfer to airtight containers. Store in the freezer.
*If you want to make them into cookies, follow all of the above instructions, but instead of pressing it into a pan, roll out the dough with a rolling pin, and cut it into circles. Use a smaller circle to cut out the center to make a ring. They will crumble slightly, so just press the pieces back together when cutting/transferring.
If you go this route, you’ll want to freeze the dough after cutting so they are easier to handle. You’ll then top each individual base with the coconut caramel mixture, freeze again, and then dip and drizzle with chocolate.