A Seedy Side of Christmas

Parties, champagne, glitter and glam. While the holidays can and do bring plenty of joy, it also brings plenty of extra and, often times, unexpected calories and gluttony--making those New Year's resolutions even more of a challenge.

As I near the half century mark, I have a new approach and it seems to be working. You know I can't give up on my dessert addiction, but I have tempered it with new options that are equally filling, nutritious and delicious.

Instead of making Santa cookies this year that are loaded with (unnecessary) butter, sugar and flour, why not shake things up a bit with a healthy snack? We know Santa could easily drop a few pounds and while he's gallivanting all over the world to deliver presents to good (and bad) boys and girls, a healthy snack that will boost his energy (and yours) may be a welcome change.

These bars are chock full of flavor and are lovely to look at. Dotted with white and black sesame seeds and laced with unsweetened coconut, these squares of nutrition have just enough honey to sweeten the deal and enough toasted almonds to satiate any real hunger pangs.

Satisfying and delicious? Santa will thank you.

Buen provecho!
Sesame-Coconut-Almond Bars
The Cowgirl Gourmet adapted this recipe from the September 2015 issue of Bon Appetit

Print recipe

Mexico has a delightful sesame bar (pasteli) that I still long for, but it's equal parts sesame and honey and that's just too much honey. These bars, on the other hand, are loaded with sesame seeds, coconut and toasted almonds with a touch of honey and almond butter so they stick together perfectly. Loaded with nutrients and flavor, these energy bars are the real deal and super easy to make.

Makes about 16

1 1/4 cups white* and/or black sesame seeds (I used 3/4 cup white sesame seeds and 1/2 cup black sesame seeds)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup toasted almonds (toast for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden and fragrant), coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8x8 glass dish and then place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the dish.

In a big bowl, add sesame seeds, coconut and chopped almonds and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, add the honey, almond butter, vanilla and salt. Microwave honey mixture for 30 seconds and stir well to combine.
Pour honey mixture over sesame concoction and mix well.

Scrape mixture into the prepared glass dish; using your fingers or an offset spatula or spatula, press firmly into an even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown around the edges.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until firm, about an hour. Holding the parchment paper, lift bars out of the baking dish and cut into 16 pieces. If the bars start to crumble, let it cool a bit longer.
Store bars tightly wrapped at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If refrigerating the bars, let them come to room temperature before serving.
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