Almost raw cherry + almond butter caramel bars

cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars

HEY. HELLO. HI GUYS!

Well. It is no exaggeration to say that the past almost-five months have been the weirdest almost-five months of my life. I know I keep saying that but things just keep getting weirder and weirder and my life keeps getting more and more unrecognizable and I spend a good chunk of each day trying to figure out how the hell I got here. To where I am now. Tucked into a funky 680 square foot loft (and another!) in a part of town I said I'd never live in (previously: Cheesman or Die, man), with a triple-net lease and a whole food edibles company so close to launching that it makes my head spin.

Most days I wake up and think HOLY SHIT I'M STARTING AN EDIBLES COMPANY! And then some days I wake up and wonder WHY THE FUCK DID I DECIDE TO START AN EDIBLES COMPANY? It should come as no surprise that I'm saying this but.. this process hasn't exactly been a walk in the park (understatement of the year); it's been hard and frustrating and all-consuming. For a solid 12 months. But I guess if it was easy, everyone would be doing it (at least that's what people like to remind me). We were hoping to be launched by 1 August but apparently the Universe had other plans so 1 September is the target launch date now. And it's looking like that date is totally doable because Thom got word last night that we're thisclose to jumping over our final hurdle which means ALCHEMY EDIBLES WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON! Well, assuming the city doesn't pull anymore surprises out of their bag of MIP Barriers to Entry. Cross your fingers. Send good vibes. Pray to your god(s). PLZ.

Anyway! My weekend plans consist of working on a recipe for Califia (Kickass Breakfast Sandwiches will be coming your way soon) (title pending approval) and removing alllll the rust from our balcony that was ignored by the previous owner. If you have any rust removal tips, I'll take 'em. So long as it's not to use a combination of baking soda + vinegar because mixing an acid with a base results in a mostly neutralized solution that doesn't do shit. So please stop cleaning your house with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar because science says it doesn't work as well as either of those things would work on their own. Vinegar and salt, however, have done a number on the rust so if you need me I'll be scrubbing the hell out of our balcony.. probably with one of these almond butter caramel bars in hand. But still, I'll take your tips if you've got 'em. ;)

Here's hoping your weekend shapes up to be a lot more enjoyable than mine. <3

cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars
cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars

Notes: If you're not a fan of almonds, feel free to make these bars with your favorite nut/nut butter. If you don't like coconut, you can replace the coconut in the crust with 1 cup (90g) rolled oats. But I'd avoid using oats to top the bars. ;) The almond butter caramel is pretty dang thick so if you don't have a high powdered blender, you might want to soak the dates, mash them up with a fork, then mix everything by hand (bonus: totally counts as an arm day workout in my book). If cherries aren't your thing-- nah, I'm not even going to go there because I refuse to believe that anyone doesn't like in-season cherries.

ALMOST RAW CHERRY + ALMOND BUTTER CARAMEL BARS

ALMOND + COCONUT CRUST
1 1/2 cups (170g) raw almonds
1 cup (70g) unsweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 (30g) medjool dates
, pitted
1-2 tablespoons (14-28g) unsweetened almondmilk
1 tablespoon (12g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)

ALMOND BUTTER CARAMEL
3/4 cup (185g) raw almond butter
10-12 (160g) medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1/4 cup (55g) unsweetened almondmilk
Heavy pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 cup (45g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)

YOU'LL ALSO NEED
Bing cherries, pitted and halved
Raw almonds, roughly chopped
Flaked coconut
Sea salt flakes

In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the almonds, shredded coconut, and sea salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and 1 tablespoon of the almondmilk, and process just until combined. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil and blend just until combined; about 15-20 seconds. Press the mixture between your fingers to make sure it sticks together. If it doesn't hold well, add the additional tablespoon of almondmilk and blend until combined. Firmly press the mixture into a 6" square/round pan (or two smaller pans, like I did) lined with parchment paper; set aside.

In a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, blend the almond butter, dates, almondmilk, and sea salt on high speed until smooth and creamy; about 1-2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly drizzle in the coconut oil, then increase the speed to high and blend for 30-45 seconds (using the tamper as needed).

To assemble the bars, spread the almond butter caramel over the crust. Top with cherries, almonds, flaked coconut, and sea salt flakes. Chill bars in the freezer for at least eight hours before serving. Will keep frozen, in an airtight container, for up to one month (but they probably won't last that long because these things are delicious).

When you're ready to serve, use a sharp knife and quickly slice through the bars (if you slice them slowly, the toppings will smoosh - ha, smoooooooosh - the filling). Once sliced, let the bars thaw for 10 minutes so the cherries have some time to soften. And in case you were wondering: yes, they're totally acceptable to eat for breakfast.

Yield: 12 bars


cherry-almond-butter-caramel-bars