Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Delectable Mango Raspberry Bars with Sherbet

I was going to make lemon bars for our guests, but I wanted to make ice cream, and I just don't fancy eating ice cream with lemon bars. They are a stand-alone treat in my mind.  I knew I wanted a fruity dessert, not chocolatey, and once I saw the mangoes and raspberries in our freezer, the idea for this recipe hatched in my mind. The bars are a cross between cake and cookie, as they are moist like cake, but dense like a cookie. This is my first time experimenting with using stevia powder in my baked goods. It worked nicely in combination with some 'real' sugar to create the right amount of sweetness without it being overbearing.

Sawyer and Abiline liked the sherbet the best; they don't usually go for cookie/ cake desserts because they are too full for it once dinner is over. While most adults have developed a separate stomach for dessert, when my kids are full, that's it--it doesn't matter how tantalizing the treat is that I place before them. Ice cream seems to be the one exception, though. I think since it melts as they lick the cone, the ice cream just slips between the cracks and doesn't require much belly room.  

For the cookie bar base:
1/4 c. coconut butter (You could probably sub. vegan margarine)
1/2 c. mangoes (I used frozen)
1/4 c. evaporated cane juice, or your choice of dry sweetener
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp. orange juice (Squeeze all the juice out of the orange. You should get about 3 Tbsp. Use 1 Tbsp. in the base and the rest in the topping.) 
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

For the raspberry topping:
1/4 c. frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp. soy-free Earth Balance
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. orange juice (leftover from orange used in the base)
1/4 c. evaporated cane juice
1/4 tsp. stevia powder
1/2 tsp. agar powder

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a 9 inch square baking pan.
2. Puree the coconut butter, mangoes, evaporated cane juice, coconut milk, and the zest and juice of the orange in a food processor until smooth.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the puree from the food processor and stir until the dry ingredients are completely moistened. Spread in the prepared baking pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 mins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.
4.  While the bars cool, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, combine the raspberries, Earth balance, coconut oil, orange juice, evaporated cane juice, stevia, and agar powder. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until the margarine melts, all is well combined, and the mixture is bubbling around the edges. Allow to cool a bit before pouring over the bars. Place the bars in the fridge for an hour or two to allow the topping to set. Serve with the sherbet below for a real treat!

For the Mango Raspberry Sherbet 
1/2 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 c. frozen mangoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I used oat milk)
1/2 tsp. orange extract
1/4 c. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. stevia powder, or more, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, and then transfer to your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. This stuff hardens a little too well once frozen more than a few hours (I think because of the fruit), so you will need to leave it on the counter for a few minutes before you can scoop it once it has been in the freezer for a while.

This sherbet really helped Abiline cool off--that cool dudette!
This is the face Sawyer makes when his ice cream is too cold. The winter cap seemed a bit dramatic, but maybe he got a brain freeze.

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