I’ve always loved creating twists on childhood treats. It’s a fantastic way to use my creativity to put my own spin on a classic recipe and give a nostalgic favourite a new lease on life. Often in the past that has meant adding some booze or going way over the top (hello Fairy Bread Cake, I still love you). But today I’m going the opposite way and creating a healthier version of one of my absolute favourite chocolate bars – the Bounty Bar.
Coconut and milk chocolate, how can you go wrong? My whole family has loved these chocolate bars for as long as I can remember. But when I had one a few months ago, it didn’t quite live up to my memories. It tasted overly sweet, a little artificial, and I decided to try out a homemade alternative. My version uses 70% dark chocolate and one of my other favourite ingredients – matcha green tea.
I first cooked with matcha shortly after I started this blog, about 10 years ago (I certainly can’t believe it) and it is very Insta-popular at the moment. Matcha lattes and emerald green desserts and even breakfasts are popping up on restaurant menus all over Sydney. But it’s not just pretty, it’s also incredibly good for you!
Matcha is a special kind of tea high high in polyphenols, chlorophyll, antioxidants and amino acids, which have loads of health benefits for your heart, liver, immune system, energy levels, metabolism and more. Only the smallest, youngest leaves are selected, then steamed and finely milled to preserve the flavour and nutritional content. Matcha has been used in Japan and China for centuries as a medicine and in traditional tea ceremonies, but you now commonly see it used in western countries as a cooking ingredient.
What I love about this snack is that it ticks all the ‘treat’ boxes, while getting in some good fats from the coconut and coconut oil. It uses only a little fructose free sweetener and has antioxidants from the matcha and dark chocolate. They take about 5 minutes to make in the food processor and then a short time in the freezer to set. There’s no baking or rolling involved – while I love Bliss Balls, they can get messy!
The Matcha Coconut pairing is absolutely beautiful in both taste and looks, and is taken to the next level by the dark chocolate drizzle. I definitely love this combination of ingredients! They can also be easily adapted to be completely vegan by switching the chocolate to a brand like Loving Earth.
I also loved that you can pop a few of these into a zip-lock in your handbag for a snack on the go. I took them on the plane with me to Manila recently. Actually, it was a funny story. I packed these bars and some raw nuts in an attempt to avoid plane food and eat healthily but when I got on board I found Unicorn Bagels. with cream cheese and sprinkles. I couldn’t resist…
You can use as much or as little matcha powder as you want, depending how intense you’d like the flavour to be. As always, I like my recipes to act as a starting point for your own creativity, so instead of the matcha, you can use anything else that takes your fancy. Acai powder would turn the bars a beautiful shade of magenta, and I saw lots of freeze dried fruit powders available in the gourmet grocery the other day – everything from blueberry to passionfruit. Yum!
Matcha Coconut Bounty Bites
Makes about 16 squares
- 3 cups shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- 1-2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
- Dark chocolate, to drizzle (use your favourite!)
Place the coconut, rice malt syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut cream into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped and comes together. Remove about half of the mixture and press evenly into the base of a non-stick square removable bottom cake tin, using a spoon to flatten the top. You can also use a brownie tin lined with non-stick baking paper.
Add the matcha to the remaining coconut mixture and process again to combine. Press the matcha coconut mixture on top of the other layer. Freeze for about 30 minutes. When mixture has set, cut into squares (mine made about 16) and arrange onto non-stick baking paper.
Melt your dark chocolate and drizzle over the coconut bites with a teaspoon, or if you like, you can dip the squares into the chocolate using 2 forks. Return to the freezer for 10-15 minutes our until the chocolate has set. You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 4 weeks, but I doubt they will last that long!