Blondies – a healthy take

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Makes approximately 15 balls

Ingredients
1/2 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup nut meal ( I have used almond & hazelnut or a mix)
1 cup pitted dates (I use soaked medjool dates)
1 1/2 – 2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean
couple pinches sea salt (about 1/8 tsp, wee scant)
2 – 3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
Extra lemon zest (about 1/2 tsp; optional for coating)
Few teaspoons (each) coconut and ground nuts – still chunky (optional for coating)
Instructions
In a food processor, add the cashews, nutmeal, dates, zest, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, and salt and process. Process until it is  sticky – it will take time! When you see it start to become a little sticky, add the coconut. Process until it forms a ball on the blade. Remove the dough. Take 1 tbsp size balls of dough. Wet hands and roll. ) Repeat until you have used all of the dough. If using coating, mix ingredients in a small bowl. Toss or roll the balls in the coating if using, and refrigerate. Bon appetit!!!
Notes:
To remove the vanilla seeds from the bean pod, slice the bean down the outer side using a sharp tip knife, to open up lengthwise. Press open the sides, and using a blunt (butter) knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and then add seeds to processor. The pod can be discarded or kept to infuse flavor in other dishes.
The texture of these bites is somewhat soft, but firms with chilling. For a firmer texture, add another 2 tbsp of nut meal.

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