Plum Coconut Shortbread Bars [v]
Summer is transitioning to autumn, and with that, sadly we must bid adieu to summer fruits. A bittersweet transition for me, as I can never get enough summer fruits… peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, berries…. all such a treat. At the same time, I LOVE pumpkins and persimmons. And nothing rings in autumn better than being able to use pumpkin ALL THE TIME. So…be warned…. or, (better yet) bookmark this blog if you love pumpkin like I do…. because there will be a lot of it in the coming months However, to acknowledge the summer fruit season coming to it’s close, I’d like to propose you grab the last of those plums in the markets and make these super tasty plum coconut shortbread bars! Luckily, summer fruits freeze quite well, so even if you can’t make this recipe now, I suggest you grab the plums while you still can and stick ’em in your freezer until you’re ready! Just defrost, and use as directed
I had a strong desire to try and recreate shortbread without butter… *gasp*… blasphemy, I know. Like I’ve said before, I’m not vegan, but I hardly ever (and by hardly ever, I mean 99.9% never) make recipes using butter. I’m not a butter hater, I like it on toast… but it’s just refined/processed fat… an unhealthy fat, at that. I strive to use healthy fats, so trying to create shortbread using unrefined coconut oil seemed quite logical and possible… and delicious. Pairing the coconut shortbread with plums sounded like an interesting flavor combination, and what better to top it all off? Chocolate. Duh. I had this image in my head of exactly how I wanted it to look, so, being a designer by profession and all, I took a pen to paper….
Yes. I’m a dork.
Lucky for us, we had an amazing plum harvest this year from our plum tree! This is not even 1/8th of our total harvest… needless to say, I ate a lot of plums this summer.
The beauty of these bars, too, is that they can be so versatile… I can imagine them with other fruits such as peaches, nectarine, strawberry, blackberry, mango, maybe even persimmon with fall approaching! Yum.
makes about 20, 2″square bars.
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour (I imagine a gluten free flour would work just fine! pls let me know if you try it!)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil (solid state)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp water)
- 10 medium red or black plums (cut into thin wedges)
- 1/2 cup plum puree (from about 4-5 plums)
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 10 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72%)
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Cut the 10 plums into thin wedges (leave the skin on), and place in a medium bowl. Place the other 5 plums plus the tapioca flour and maple syrup in a Cuisinart or blender, and blend until they are well combined and plums are pureed (no chunks). Add this mixture to the bowl with the sliced plums, and stir together well with a spoon or spatula.
- Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, and spoon the plum mixture into the dish, spreading it evenly over the bottom. Place it in the oven and cook until the mixture has set (should look like the picture of the plum layer above, slightly firm to the touch and not wet anymore). Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a small dish, mix together the two flax eggs, set aside.
- Now, in another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the brown sugar, flax eggs, and coconut oil and mix together well. It should become crumbly and chunky, but just make sure it is all well combined (use your hands if you need to).
- Using your hands, crumble the coconut mixture evenly over the top of the plum layer, use your hands to gently press it together, filling all the holes and getting it as tightly packed as you can without deforming the plum layer below. Set aside.
- Using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate (stirring often), and then spoon the melted chocolate over the top of the coconut layer. Use the back of the spoon or a spatula to make sure it’s spread evenly.
- Place the bars into the refrigerator and chill until the chocolate has set (about an hour). Cut into squares with a *sharp* knife, and use a cooking spatula to lift out of the pan and serve… enjoy! (note: these can be kept at room temp or in the fridge for a couple days)