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cherry lime bars

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” —Albert Einstein

We’re going to keep this post short and sweet. When Lily Diamond nominated us to participate in Natasha Feldman’s Nosh with Tash Mystery Box, we were honored and immediately said yes. Natasha sent 3 people (us, Kristan Raines, and Ria Dolly Barbosa) a colorfully decorated Mystery Box containing 3 secret ingredients, and we were asked to create an original recipe using all three. Inspired by the contents in our box—fresh limes, dried cherries, and coconut milk—we came up with (drum roll please)… Cherry Lime Bars! Get the full recipe below, follow our Instagram Stories today as we show you how to make these creamy vegan treats, and check out the hashtag #mysterynosh to see what the other recipients made with their boxes. To keep the food festivities going, we’re nominating our friend, Kylie Mazon-Chambers to receive the next mystery mailing. Happy Sunday and happy baking, everyone!

Cherry Lime Bars
Makes 9 large or 16 small bars

For the filling:
1 cup (145 g) raw unsalted cashews (see note)
1 cup (237 ml) canned coconut milk (see note)
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/2 cup (118 ml) lime juice
1/4 cup (59 ml) maple syrup
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the crust:
1/2 cup (113 g) vegan butter, plus more for greasing the pan
zest from one lime
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (28 g) powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour

For the cherries:
1 1/4 cups (184 g) dried cherries
1-2 tablespoons water

First, soak the cashews: place the cashews in a bowl or large measuring cup, and add enough water to cover the nuts completely. Cover the bowl and let soak at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight (see note).

Once the cashews are done soaking, preheat oven to 350°F/177°C, and grease an 8×8 square baking pan with vegan butter. Line the pan with two overlapping sheets of parchment paper, which will create a sling to lift the finished bars out of the pan.

Next, make the crust: in a mixing bowl, blend the butter and lime zest with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Place a fine-mesh strainer over the bowl, then add the sugar, powdered sugar, and salt, sifting to remove any lumps. Blend until smooth, then sift in the flour. Blend until just combined and no streaks of dry flour remain. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan, and press it into an even layer about 1/2-inch thick. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool while you prepare the cherries and filling.

Place the dried cherries in a food processor and blend until they form a paste, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water to achieve a jam-like spreadable consistency. Set aside.

Drain the cashews, then place them in a blender. Add the coconut cream, lime zest, lime juice, maple syrup, cornstarch, and salt, and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy, with no graininess.

Spread the cherry purée over the crust in an even layer. Pour the filling over the cherry layer, then place in the oven and bake until the center is set and no longer ripples when the pan is shaken, 35-45 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool uncovered until completely chilled, 2 to 4 hours.

When ready to serve, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper sling, and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the paper and cut the bars into your desired number of squares—for clean cuts, be sure to wipe off the knife between each slice. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!

notes:
— The longer the cashews soak, the softer they become. If you have a high-powered blender, soaking them for an hour should be sufficient. If you don’t own a high-powered blender, soaking the cashews longer will help ensure smooth and creamy bars.
— When opening a can of coconut milk, there will be a layer of thick cream at the top and a watery layer beneath. When measuring it for this recipe, first scoop the cream layer into a measuring cup, then top it off with the more watery coconut milk until it reaches 1 cup. Any remaining coconut milk can be discarded or saved for another use.
— To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute a gluten-free cup-for-cup flour for the all-purpose flour.