Let me let you in on a little secret: I have a huge sweet tooth. I do looooove kale and green juice, but I also really, really like sweet things.
You are probably thinking “Wait a second Emily, aren’t you a health coach? Isn’t sugar bad for you?” to which I will respond Yes and YES!! (!!!!!)
Without getting into too much science and data, here’s the deal with sugar: sugar is a carbohydrate (energy!) and is found in a lot of foods: of course the white granular stuff, but also most fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, and pretty much any packaged food (tomato sauce, bread, soda, the list goes on).
When sugar is processed two things usually happen: 1) the fiber is stripped away and 2) the sweetness is concentrated way beyond what we would ever find in nature. When you consume this type of sugar, you get a jolt of energy as the highly concentrated sugar hits your bloodstream, but then crash as there is no fiber to help slow the absorption of the sugar. Which causes you to crave more sugar to get another boost of energy, and so on and so forth.
The good news is that foods with natural sugars (fruits and sweet vegetables) usually contain plenty of fiber, which slows the absorption of the sweet stuff giving you more steady energy and fewer cravings.
These fig bars are filled with natural sugars, but also tons of fiber and a decent dose of protein, which in my mind makes them a perfect dessert or afternoon pick-me-up. A dessert that you can feel good eating? Now that’s sweet!
Chamomile Scented Fig Bars - Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free
Makes 16 bars
Note: This recipe is highly adaptable. Don’t like pecans? Try walnuts. Out of almonds? Try cashews. No chamomile tea in the house? I bet Rooibos or Chai would be equally delicious.
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup mixed raw nuts (I used almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts)
- 1 cup raisins or dried figs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- generous sprinkle of sea salt
- 2 cups dried figs, soaked in warm water for at least 15 minutes (save the soaking liquid)
- 1/4 cup strong, steeped chamomile tea
- 1/4 cup soaking liquid
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Grease a 9x9 pan with coconut oil. Place 2 cups of figs for the filling in a bowl and cover with warm water.
- Make the crust: Add nuts to your food processor and pulse until corse. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and process until well combined and the mixture begins to stick together. Pour the mixture into your greased pan and press it down until it equally covers the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the freezer to firm up while you make the filling.
- Make the filling: Drain the figs that have been soaking (but save the soaking liquid!). Add figs, chamomile tea, and coconut oil to the food processor and process until smooth. Slowly add the soaking liquid (you may use a little less or a little more depending on how soft your figs were) - you want the mix to be smooth but thick, pudding consistency. When done, empty the contents of the food processor on top of the crust and use a spatula to spread the filling out evenly across the crust. Place the pan back in the freezer to firm up while you make the topping.
- Make the topping: Pulse the ingredients in the food processor until roughly chopped and well combined. Spread generously on top of the bars and gently press the topping in so it sticks to the filling. Place back into the freezer for about 15 minutes (bars should be firm but not frozen) and then slice.
You can keep these bars in the freezer or in the fridge. They will get very firm in the freezer (almost like an ice cream cake - yum!); they will be more mouse-like if you keep in the fridge. Both ways are incredibly delicious.
I can’t wait for you to try these bars - my family LOVED them and could not believe that they were made with all good for you ingredients. A perfect treat!