This afternoon I learned never to try and make coconut butter with a cheap, low-powered food processor (take note or shed a few tears). I also learned that it’s possible to conjure up something awe-inspiring from something, well, sad and lame. Remnants of failed coconut butter? No, no, excuse me, more like bounty bar stuffing waiting to be shaped and dunked into divine chocolate. I thought you ought to know that these bounty bars don’t have a clean and pristine past. They were once the leftovers of a botched recipe. Luckily, I noticed the potential in the little mountain of should-be-coconut-butter that sat in front of me. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this: never throw away shredded coconut!!! Instead, think of it as the beautiful beginning to a tasty treat.
I was recently thinking about the similarities between making something in the kitchen and creating and mending a relationship. Both experiences take time and are more or less shaped by individual effort. Sure, a bounty bar can’t call me up and ask to hang out, but it can tell me how it’s doing. When I overlook an ingredient or crucial step to a recipe, the resulting bounty bar or, as I most recently learned, coconut butter, always reveals my misstep. It holds up the mirror for me. There is no chance to skirt the issue or stuff the uncomfortable reality into a drawer to deal with later. A gritty coconut mixture is not and never will be coconut BUTTER.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess relationships can be an uncomfortable subject to ponder, but thinking of them in terms of chocolate and coconut melts away some of the mental and emotional burden (I’m not alone on this, right?). Cooking is honest and real. You can’t fake a banana bread into liking you, it either bakes up fluffy and tasty, or it sinks and falls in on itself. I suppose it would be good to try and approach my relationships the same way… with as little resentment and drudgery as possible. With no expectations, but a great deal of effort and enthusiasm in tow (after all, bread won’t bake unless you show up to try and make it). And above all else, with a fat dollop of honesty. Always honesty.
Sometimes other factors get in the way of achieving a dreamed about recipe or a milestone in a relationship; cold weather stunts the rising of dough and distance and time create lost space between two people. But maybe not all recipes are always meant to work. That’s just how things are sometimes. Some days you simply can’t get the coconut to blend enough. And sometimes that’s precisely what has to happen for you to eventually find yourself here (or there, wherever you may be); in a place where happiness and satisfaction are finally all-consuming. And consumable. Yes, I am referring to these bounty bars. Along with optimism, it always helps to be carrying a few spoonfuls of sweet syrup wherever you go. And a big jar of not-quite-coconut-butter. Friends like friends with mini bounty bars in tow. It’s true, mine told me so.
Makes 12-15 small bars
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or sticky liquid sweetener of choice
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
3 tbsps dairy free milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Generous pinch of salt! (it brings out the sweetness)
1 cup chocolate chips of choice* (I opted for 65% cacao)
1/4 cup cacao powder
3 tbsps unrefined coconut oil
2-3 tbsps liquid sweetener (add to taste or omitt for a bitter coating & add 1-3 more tbsps of coconut oil)
*Alternatively, simply make the coating with 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips OR 1/2 cup cacao powder, 1/3 cup coconut oil, and 3-5 tbsps liquid sweetener (add the syrup to taste).