Raw Strawberry Matcha Bars
Whoever thinks vegans/dairy-free folks can't enjoy delicious frozen treats is most seriously WRONG! Introducing...my yummy strawberry matcha bars! This recipe is a colorful twist on my favorite cashew + coconut bars. No baking required, so it's pretty foolproof. They're also perfect for springtime and the upcoming summer months! Hope you enjoy.
• ½ cup almond meal
• 8-10 dates, pitted, soaked in boiling water for a few minutes, and drained
• ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
• ¼ cup cacao (or cocoa) powder
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 pinch sea salt
• 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
• 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
• 3 tablespoons coconut nectar (You could sub honey or maple syrup, but it'll taste diff)
• ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1½ tablespoons matcha (I use Jade Leaf's matcha!)
• ½ cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries (I used fresh)
1. Line a 8x8 pyrex pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
2. In a food processor, add all crust ingredients and pulse for a few minutes, until sticky. Add crust to the pyrex, firmly pressing onto the parchment paper. The crust layer should be pretty thin, but don't worry - it's super sweet and flavorful. Place in freezer, and start making the filling!
3. Quickly wash out food processor, and reuse to make the filling. Add soaked cashews, shredded coconut, coconut nectar, vanilla extract, almond milk, and pulse for 5 minutes. Mixture should be creamy at this point - if there are still a few lumps, add a few tablespoons more almond milk and pulse again.
**Depending on how long you soaked the cashews, you may need to add a couple more tablespoons of almond milk until mixture is fully blended. Also, if you don't have a food processor, a high speed blender MAY work for this. I haven't tried it myself, but if you do and it works, please let me know!
4. Divide mixture evenly into three bowls - 1 for green layer, 1 for white layer, 1 for pink layer. Make the green layer first by adding matcha powder to the one of the three cashew bowls in the same food processor. Pulse until everything is springy GREEN! At this point, take the pyrex out of the freezer and use a spatula to spread matcha layer over the top of the crust. Mixture should be thick, but still spreadable.
5. For the vanilla layer, simply spread the plain vanilla cashew filling on top of the matcha layer. Once this is done, add back to the freezer and make the strawberry filling!
6. Quickly rise the food processor until clean, and add back in the remaining cashew mixture with ½ cup strawberries. Pulse until strawberries are finely shredded. Finally, take the pyrex out of freezer and spread out last layer.
7. Place the pyrex in freezer for 1-2 hours and/or overnight. If you're overeager for sweets (like me) choose the first option. They have much more of a cheesecake like texture this way. ;)
8. Once bars are out of the freezer, leave out for about 45mins - 1hr, slice into bars, and enjoy the delicious creamy goodness. If you need to leave them in overnight, I would allow them to defrost in the fridge for 3-4 hours as they will be pretty firm at first!
PROTIP: If you froze the bars for a long time and are in a rush for them to defrost, pop 'em in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. This'll make them nice and creamy again!