Dessert of the Month: Mango-Coconut Rounds

Which to love more about these sweets: the tropical flavor of the dried mango and coconut — or the ease and speed with which the recipe comes together? Either way, these are a great treat for the gray winter months when fresh fruit is hard to come by and you need a burst of sunshine.

Although the rounds are made strictly from dried fruit and nuts, they don’t resemble the sweet (and often cloying) date and nut-based energy bars and “healthy” treats that health food stores stock. They also store well for weeks and can be wrapped up and stashed in your bag for times when you need something small, sweet and flavorful to get you through the afternoon.

Mango-Coconut Rounds

Makes 40 (½-inch) rounds

I like the simple combination of mango and coconut, but you could add a pinch of ground cardamom or fresh lime zest to change it up a bit. If you have a vanilla bean on hand, the seeds would make a lovely addition too. Raw cashews can be used in place of almonds here — just soak them for 4 to 6 hours and drain well.

3 cups roughly chopped unsweetened, unsulfured dried mango (about 12 oz)

½ cup whole raw almonds, soaked overnight in 1 cup water

3 cups unsweetened shredded dried coconut, divided

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch sea salt

Place dried mango in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak 3 to 4 minutes or until mango is softened a little but still holding its shape. Pour into a strainer and drain well. Slip skins off almonds, rinse, drain and place in a food processor along with 2 cups dried coconut, coconut flour, vanilla and salt. Press any excess liquid out of mango pieces and add to food processor. Blend until mixture is combined and a ball forms. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge for at least an hour or until thoroughly chilled.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread ½ cup of the remaining coconut over tray. Place in the oven and toast for 5 to 6 minutes or until deep golden and fragrant. Remove tray and set aside to cool. Spread remaining ½ cup of coconut on a plate and set aside.

Divide chilled mango coconut mixture into ½-cup portions. Using clean, damp hands, roll each portion into logs, about 1-inch in diameter. Roll each log in either toasted or untoasted coconut. Transfer to a plate and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until firm. Cut each log into 8 rounds, layer in an airtight container and store in the fridge where they will keep well for up to 2 weeks.

Photo by Stephen Johnson

Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.

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