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“Hello Dolly” bars (raw)

October 6, 2010

Thank you to everyone who’s offered feedback on my new layout! I also enjoyed hearing your thoughts on coconut oil and agave this week, which has been quite an eventful one for me. I’m simply bursting at the seams with some super-duper exciting news. It’s been brewing for some time, but has now been confirmed and finalized. I want to tell you so badly! However, today’s post will serve as a precursor to the big announcement, which I shall issue…tomorrow!

I think it’s safe to assume that you all know by now how much of a Matthew Kenney fan I am. I can pinpoint my lunch at 105 Degrees back in May as THE moment I officially fell in love with raw food once and for all. I returned there in July to have dinner with Ani Phyo AND Matthew himself. In corresponding with him since, he has graciously commended my blog and complimented my writing, for which I am both grateful and delighted. When a copy of his latest opus, Everyday Raw Desserts, landed in my mailbox, I was overjoyed! 75+ brand spankin’ new recipes for cakes, pies, puddings, flan, brownies, candy, cookies, and ice cream—ALL raw? Oh, hell yes!

Matthew gave me permission to share some of the recipes with you, so I’m starting out with these “hello dolly” bars. I had never even heard of such a thing before (and a Google search didn’t yield much info, other than that they’re also commonly called “7-layer bars”), but I knew at first glance that I HAD to make them, expense be damned. So it seems “Dolly,” whoever she is, has gone, raw, vegan, and gluten-free!

For the crust:
3 cups cashew flour (see note below)
4 Tbsp agave nectar (or coconut nectar, maple syrup, or honey)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
Pinch of sea salt

For the filling:
1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cacao nibs
1 cup agave nectar (or coconut nectar, maple syrup, or honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt

(Note: To make cashew flour, just pulse dry cashews in a food processor until a fine powder forms.) In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients.

Use a wooden spoon and/or your hands to mix thoroughly.

Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with coconut oil, then press the crust mixture firmly into the pan. I like to grease the bottom of a measuring cup or glass and use it to really pack down the crust.

In the same large bowl (no need to wash it), combine the coconut, walnuts, and cacao nibs.

Add the agave, vanilla, and salt…

…and again use a wooden spoon and/or your hands to mix thoroughly (the mixture will be very sticky).

Spread the filling evenly over the crust…

…and press it down firmly.

Dehydrate for 3-4 hours, until warm and chewy. Alternatively, you could put it in the oven for a bit at a low temperature. (I haven’t tried it, so I can’t recommend a specific temp or length of time, but remember that all you really want to do is warm it, not bake it.) You could also probably just pack the layers into the pan extra-well, and eat it straightaway!

Cut and enjoy. And oh, you will enjoy. The relatively plain crust is an excellent base for the chewy, sticky, nutty, nibby, crunchy concoction on top. How sweet it is! These bars are downright decadent.

Yield: 16 servings.
Per serving: 348 calories, 23.6g fat (8g sat), 33.3g carbs, 6g fiber, 8.3g protein.

I can’t say enough great things about Everyday Raw Desserts. It’s full of recipes like this one—simple and straightforward in both ingredients and preparation, but with amazingly flavorful and foolproof results. Thank you again, Matthew!

Come back tomorrow to hear my big news! EEE!

If you like this, you might also like…
Raw mocha-chocolate mousse tart
Homemade raw chocolate bar
Raw raspberry swirl cheezecake

37 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2010 2:10 pm

    Wowzers. I have that book but have yet to try any of the recipes. It is frsutrating not having a dehydrator! Great recipe and great layout and title (banner)! I just changed mine too!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:28 pm

      I’m liking your new layout as well, missy!

      I put off buying a dehydrator for so long, thinking I wouldn’t get enough use out of it. I could not have been more wrong, seriously!

      I don’t think there is anything in Everyday Raw Desserts that I DON’T want to make, hehe 😛

      • October 6, 2010 10:32 pm

        Hmm… I already thinking of the possibilities, which are endless, by the way.

        • October 6, 2010 10:32 pm

          And I commented to the wrong comment. Whatever. You know what I’m talking about, Amber!

        • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
          October 7, 2010 7:01 am

          ::giggle:: Yes, I know what you’re talking about 😛 The possibilities are only endless for a few more hours though! At which time they will be narrowed down to one awesome certainty 😀

  2. October 6, 2010 2:20 pm

    You’re gonna make me sit on the edge of my seat for the next 24 hours?! I thought we were friends!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:30 pm

      We are, we are! Which is why I counsel you to not balance on the edge of your seat, dear; that’s precarious. 😉 Sit back, relax, and all info will come in due time…

  3. October 6, 2010 2:35 pm

    Oh the suspense!!! Tell tell. Soon! 😉 Oh, and those bars looks so yummy!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:30 pm

      Soon, very soon! By this time tomorrow it will be public knowledge 😀 The bars were ridiculously good!

  4. October 6, 2010 3:33 pm

    Wow, what a great-looking recipe. I’m so excited to learn your news too: I can already tell that it’s going to be something that’ll make me super-envious – but delighted for you even more than that.

    I love the look of that book, from what I’ve seen of it, and would adore the opportunity to connect with Matthew myself – he seems to be super-talented and have his heart in the right place too.


    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:32 pm

      Aw, thank you so much, Ela. I am very, very excited about it indeed. I’ll feel bad making people envious (though it’s likely inevitable), but it is something I’ve been desiring for quite some time, and could not be more ecstatic about…

      The book is a real gem, and Matthew is an absolute sweetheart in person. And, funny as it is to say this, that man knows how to NOT cook! 😛

  5. Kristen's Raw permalink
    October 6, 2010 4:04 pm

    Aren’t the photos in that book heavenly?!?! Love them!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:33 pm

      Tell me about it! Every time I turn a page, I have to caution myself not to lick it! =X

  6. Deanna permalink
    October 6, 2010 4:04 pm

    Oh super yum. I used to make those all the time back in the day. Way over the top and totally have to be shared. But, oh. so. good.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:36 pm

      Haha, “over the top” is absolutely right. They’re Hello Dolly bars a.k.a. 7-layer bars a.k.a. let’s-see-how-many-rich-fatty-sweet-and-delicious-ingredients-we-can-fit-into-one-treat bars! 😛

  7. October 6, 2010 4:46 pm

    I am anxious for you to share your big news with your readers. Go get’em!!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:36 pm

      I am too! Not much longer, now…

  8. October 6, 2010 5:05 pm

    I have that book and totally want to make this! You have inspired me!!!! 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:38 pm

      Awesome! These are right up your alley, actually—only a few ingredients, one bowl, one spoon, mix & press, mix & press again, and they don’t even really require dehydration!

  9. October 6, 2010 7:41 pm

    Incredible! I don’t think I could ever go “raw,” but I love experimenting with the recipes every once in awhile–this one looks wonderful. (It’s dessert–how could it not be?!)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:39 pm

      Heh, you know, I used to say the same thing myself, that I could never “go raw.” The more I delve into it, though, the more amazed I am at the breadth and versatility of raw foods. And the desserts are sooo easy to fall in love with!

  10. October 6, 2010 7:50 pm

    Oh, yum! I love raw food, because it really allows the pure flavors to stand out on their own. You are so lucky to have had lunch with both Matthew and Ani!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:41 pm

      I totally agree! I’m getting more into raw food than I ever expected. And meeting Matthew (I AM quite lucky!) set in motion a chain of events that is finally about to come to fruition…!

  11. October 6, 2010 8:57 pm

    YUM! We have 7-layer bars at the non-vegan bakery I work at. I really want to try one!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:42 pm

      I’ve never tried a “real” one of these, but after making this recipe, I don’t even feel a need to! These bars are SO excellent. 🙂

  12. October 6, 2010 9:10 pm

    Yum! Those look sooo good!
    I don’t have a dehydrator but I am thinking about getting one. Which one do you have? Do you like it? If you had to get it again would you, or would you get a different one?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 6, 2010 9:44 pm

      Ooh, you’re in the market for a dehydrator? Yay! Like I told Noelle above, I put off buying one for way too long, thinking I wouldn’t get enough use out of it, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! I got an Excalibur, the 5-tray model with the automatic timer thingy. It works like a dream—if I had to buy another, I’d definitely go for Excalibur again, hands down.

  13. October 6, 2010 11:04 pm

    I so love that I’m in the know about your news. SQUEEE! So much happy happy! And these do look divine. The only thing I wish about raw food was that it was shippable… because I want to try your magnificent creations so badly! I still absolutely intend to make those raw cheesecakes you posted awhile back, but I stupidly keep forgetting to make the time to do so. One day, one day!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2010 11:45 am

      I wish they were shippable too! Maybe if I got a vacuum sealer thingy…

      You’ll make the cheezecake at some point, I have faith 🙂 It’s getting warm where you are, no? Perfect timing!…

  14. October 7, 2010 4:12 am

    Well, I have a friend who will FLIP out of this book. She’s obsessed with raw desserts, though she doesn’t have a dehydrater….yet.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2010 11:52 am

      A dehydrator is a great investment if she’s really getting into raw stuff. But in the meantime, there are ways around it! Like I said, these bars don’t really require dehydration at all; they can be eaten as-is. You could also bake them, or if she does want to keep them as close as possible to “technically raw,” she could put them in the oven on “Warm” and leave the door cracked. Makeshift dehydrator!

  15. October 7, 2010 7:38 am

    nice work! those look great!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2010 11:52 am

      Thank you! 🙂

  16. October 7, 2010 11:06 am

    Yum!! I love this raw action… I have been a little aprehensive about the whole ‘raw’ movement but you have inspired me!

    Oh and p.s…. love the new look!! Fab 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2010 11:54 am

      I was originally apprehensive about raw too, for quite a long time, actually. I guess all it takes, though, is one good surge of inspiration! If I have contributed to yours at all, I’m so glad. 😀

      And thanks re: the new layout!

  17. October 7, 2010 3:55 pm

    I haven’t tried very many raw recipes, but WOW…this looks and sounds fantastic! Looks like another one that I’m going to have to try. :o)

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      October 7, 2010 4:09 pm

      Ooh, I hope you do try it! Desserts are the best “gateway drug” to raw! 😛

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