Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

A couple of months ago, I was trying out a gluten-free diet, which I am no longer on. I was “jonesing” for something crusty, carby and sweet, and I couldn’t get banana cream pie off my mind, so I came up with this dessert. I simplified it by making it into bars with a crust that you simply hand-press  into the pan. I use coconut milk instead of heavy cream, which also adds a new dimension. Be sure to use regular canned coconut milk instead of light, and don’t even think of using coconut beverage. The creamy, dreamy topping is the result of high fat content, air and a very cold whipping and serving temperature.

Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

For the crust:

Expeller-pressed canola oil spray

1 1/4 cups (150 g) almond meal

3 tablespoons (45 g) vegetable oil spread with no hydrogenated oils, melted

1 tablespoon (21 g) agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the coconut cream:

1 (13.5 or 14-ounce, or 414 ml) canned coconut milk (regular, not light or beverage), chilled until separated into solid and liquid

1 tablespoon (21 g) agave nectar

For the filling:

3 cups (450 g) sliced slightly green bananas (about 3 medium)

1 cup (165 g) canned crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice, drained well in a strainer, reserving 1 tablespoon (15 ml) juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and lower sides of a 9 x 9-inch (22.6 x 22.6 cm) glass baking dish with cooking oil spray. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom of pan. Bake until golden and edges pull away slightly from the sides, about 13 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

To make the coconut cream: Open the can of coconut cream (do not shake) and pour off the translucent coconut water. Place the solidified coconut milk in a pre-chilled bowl, and using whisk attachments, beat the coconut milk and vanilla on high speed until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in agave nectar.

Place the bananas in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon pineapple juice. Gently fold in 1/3 cup of prepared coconut cream. Spread on the baked crust. Layer crushed pineapple on top of the banana mixture and finish with the remaining coconut cream.

Chill for a few hours until very cold and serve the same or next day, preferably.

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook time: 13 minutes

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 199 calories, 14 g total fat (5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 53 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 16.5 g total carbohydrate (2.5 g fiber), 4 g protein, 7% DV iron, 4% DV calcium, 0% DV Vitamin A, 11 % DV Vitamin C.

 

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Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

Banana Coconut Cream Bars with Almond Crust

By Michelle Dudash, Chef and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Published: April 26, 2013

  • Yield: 1 bar (12 Servings)
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Ready In: 45 mins

Easy vegan and gluten-free banana and pineapple fruit bars topped with a light and fluffy coconut cream.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and lower sides of a 9 x 9-inch (22.6 x 22.6 cm) glass baking dish with cooking oil spray. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom of pan. Bake until golden and edges pull away slightly from the sides, about 13 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.
  2. To make the coconut cream: Open the can of coconut cream (do not shake) and pour off the translucent coconut water. Place the solidified coconut milk in a pre-chilled bowl, and using whisk attachments, beat the coconut milk and vanilla on high speed until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold in agave nectar.
  3. Place the bananas in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon pineapple juice. Gently fold in 1/3 cup of prepared coconut cream. Spread on the baked crust. Layer crushed pineapple on top of the banana mixture and finish with the remaining coconut cream.
  4. Chill for a few hours until very cold and serve the same or next day, preferably.

3 Comments

  1. Carson says:

    My daughter and I made these but our coconut cream wouldn’t form soft peaks. I used a high quality coconut cream from our local TJ’s; bowl was chilled, no water was present when we opened the unshaken can! Also – in the recipe, 1 tsp. vanilla extract is listed but never addressed in the directions! This sounds delicious and I’d like to try it again with any tips you can give me! Thanks! C

    1. Hi Carson,

      I’ve found there are a few brands of coconut milk out there that don’t separate (one being the Whole Foods brand) into a liquid portion and solid portion. I don’t believe I’ve tried TJ’s for whipping yet. Did you notice a separation or no? The liquid must be poured off/discarded before whipping the solid, otherwise it won’t whip. I will look into the vanilla.

      Thanks!
      Michelle

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