Coconut Cashew Cream Layer Bars

Coconut Cashew Cream-Filled Layer BarsBy request, I created these Coconut Cashew Cream Layer Bars as a vegan and raw version of my Healthy Nanaimo Bars. Rather than graham cracker crumbs for the base, I use a fiber-rich mix of dates, oats and nuts. A coconut cashew cream filling provides healthy fats and replaces condensed milk or pudding mix. And for the chocolate layer, polyphenol-packed raw cacao and coconut oil are the base. Maple syrup and dates are the only sweeteners. Raw, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free – these are suitable for almost any guests! Continue reading

No-Bake Healthy Nanaimo Bars

Healthy Nanaimo BarsNanaimo Bars were a ubiquitous treat growing up. After all, growing up in Seattle, we were not so distant neighbors with the bars’ eponymous Canadian city. You guessed it, Nanaimo. There are countless recipes claiming to be ‘the original’. And, while they have varying ingredients making up those three layers, they all use a lot of packaged items (pudding mix, graham crackers, condensed milk, processed cocoa powder, etc.) and a lot of sugar. I mean a LOT. But, there’s no doubt, Nanaimo Bars became a cult classic because they are easy to make and have an enticing variety of flavors and textures in every bite.  Continue reading

How to Make Whipped Coconut Cream

Whipped Coconut CreamBelieve it or not, there is something more irresistible than coconut milk. That would be whipped coconut milk. Airy, light and slightly tropical, coconut whipped cream is about to become your topping of choice for desserts, fresh fruit or licked straight off the beaters. Isn’t that the best way to eat any kind of whipped cream?

The process is as simple as whipping regular heavy cream with just a few tips to consider. The main ingredient is full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight. Do not use light coconut milk. I repeat, do not use light coconut milk. Not ever. Not for anything. Use full fat coconut milk.

I prefer organic, GMO-free coconut milk, ideally in a BPA-free can. But, my buying preferences and full fat requirement aside, the brand you select does matter. But, more about that later.

Whipped Coconut Cream Ingredients


1 13.5 ounce can of full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


1. Place your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight so that the thick coconut cream will separate from the liquid. Chilling the beaters or whisk and mixing bowls is also helpful.

2. Turn the chilled can of coconut milk upside down, so that the liquid is at the top. Open the can (removing the bottom) and pour off the liquid. Set it aside for other use. This is prime liquid for smoothies and can also be used in baking or cooking. Note: If the solids have not separated from the liquid, use the coconut milk for something else as it will not whip up.

If you removed the top of the can, simply scoop out the solids on the top and place them in the bowl you will use for whipping.

Coconut Milk Separated

3. Using a mixer or immersion blender, mix on high-speed until the cream is fluffy and forms soft peaks, about 4 or 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it. It may not become as light and airy as whipped heavy cream. But, like heavy cream, you can whip it too much.

4. Add the sweetener and extract of choice and whip again until blended.

5. Whipped coconut cream will keep refrigerated for at least a week. If it separates or loses its mojo, simply whip it up again.


Whipped coconut cream lends itself to enjoyment in all the same ways you would enjoy traditional whipped cream. However, most individuals should feel free to indulge more liberally in coconut cream than in its dairy cream cousin. True, this is a high-fat item. But, coconut milk is full of healthy fats, which give us a sense of fullness and satiety. True, the fat in coconut milk is saturated fat. But, not all saturated fats are equal. The saturated fatty acids in coconut oil are predominately medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs, also known as medium chain triglycerides.

MCFAs are transported directly to the liver. In the liver, they are immediately converted into energy, rather than being stored as fat. So, MCFAs may help promote weight maintenance without raising cholesterol levels [1].


Does it really matter? It turns out it does matter, quite a bit. I’ve been making whipped coconut cream since finding Oh She Glow’s tutorial. I loved the idea, not only for its simplicity and delicious taste, but also because I always have a can of coconut milk on hand. Now, I always keep one in the back of the refrigerator, ready for action. Doesn’t a whipped topping make any treat a little more special?

Excited to share this treat via a blog post, I was less than thrilled when my most recent attempt was a wimpy FAIL. No soft peaks here. Not so thick. Instead, it was a droopy, wet mess. What happened?

Just be sure to chill down the can overnight in the refrigerator. 

I typically buy Native Forest or Thai Kitchen Organic coconut milk. This time, I used Native Forest, but did not get the usual satisfactory results, which led me to do a little research.

Beth of Tasty Yummies to the rescue. Her comparison of different coconut brands pointed out that brand differences in stabilizers and origin of the coconuts may greatly affect their whipping potential. Check out her site to see how gorgeous your desserts can look with whipped coconut cream. She too had experienced inconsistency with trying to whip up the Native Farms brand. Native Farms – it’s you, not me.

Frustration and culinary ego-bruising behind me, I purveyed a few more cans of Thai Kitchen coconut milk and deposited them directly into the refrigerator. The result was the top photo in this post. That’s what I’m talking about. Now, I’m ready for the 4th and hope you are too! 

[1] “Physiological Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides: Potential Agents in the Prevention of Obesity”J. Nutr. 132(3): 329–332. 1 March 2002.

Raw Coconut Milk Yogurt

Raw Coconut YogurtCoconut yogurt. It has an exotic scent, a tart, yet slightly sweet taste and the texture of a creamy custard. And, it actually improves digestive and immune health. All this and both dairy and soy-free? The concept seems almost too good to be true. But, shopping for coconut yogurt can be challenging, if not frustrating. Most grocery stores carry limited, and seemingly over-priced options.  Continue reading

Coconut Cashew Bars

DSC_6776While enjoying any Lara Bar, it’s hard not to think, ‘Tasty, spendy and they CAN’T be that hard to make!’ Well, you are right; their beauty is their simplicity. And, who knew Lara was Paleo?!

This is actually a 5-minute preparation recipe with a food processor. The recipe works just as well in a high-speed blender. But, you may want to coarsely chop the dates and the mix will require longer processing and intermittent scraping of the jar. I have made this recipe with various types of dates and prefer the Medjool variety. Medjool dates are larger and seem to be a little sweeter, more flavorful and softer than other varieties.

Full of fiber and dairy, gluten and sugar-free, these are my favorite pre or post-workout treat. They are also excellent with a glass of chilled almond milk and an ABC Afterschool Special.  Yield: 12 bars Continue reading