These Blondie Aina Bars are made with “golden, sweet smelling, amazing tasting flour” shares Vince Kanai Dodge, who can vividly remember the first time he received and cooked with Kiawe flour, known in America as Mesquite. That first meal was Indian flatbread with a curry dinner and that night a seed was planted with every bite that just blew him away.
Living on the Waianae coast and working with Ma’o Farms and young opio (students), ages 11 through 13 – many suffering from Type 2 Diabetes — was the catalyst. Kiawe bean pod flour could be so many things to Vince’s community; a healthy, sustainable substitute for sugary soda and snacks, a reason to return to aina and hone their skills, and an opportunity to use something that they have in abundance.
“You are sitting on a health gold mine. Mesquite bean pod flour was a staple food of all the Native Americans in the Southwest.”Gary Nabhan and Laurie Monti, University of Arizona, the couple who gifted Vince with the first taste of Kiawe bean pod flour
From that first taste, Vince was taken on a journey from the Waianae coast of Oahu to Tucson, Arizona to learn how to mill Kiawe beans into flour. With him he brought 60 pounds of beans that he had picked and dried for the trip. He returned home with enough flour to share and experiment with as well as a mission to obtain his own milling machine. Paired with a desire to discover and “hang out with the people who have eaten this [kiawe flour] for a thousand years” Vince’s quest continued to Argentina where the indigenous people, called the Wichi, eat Kiawe flour everyday.
This Waianae Gold Blondie Aina Bars recipe is inspired by the Wichi who pound their kiawe beans into a rough flour that they sift and eat raw, mixing it simply with water. Vince and his ohana understand “the importance of knowing what the original recipes are”. It becomes a foundation and platform from which we can deep dive into the unknown and come up with gold.
Waianae Gold’s Blondie Aina Bars
- 120 g Waianae Gold Kiawe Flour (email Vince to purchase)
- 110 g Organic Peanut Butter
- 65 g Raw Honey
- 2 Pinches Paakai (Hawaiian salt)
- Mix together ingredients in a small bowl until incorporated
- The type of peanut butter you use can determine the consistency of the bars. Freshly made peanut butter is warm and runny and makes for easy mixing. If your peanut butter is too thick, try sprinkling a very small amount of water into the mixture. That little bit of water should be enough to loosen the mixture and make for a smooth bar.
- Knead the batter no more than a dozen times (if you over knead it will get oily)
- Press into a small dish and cut into squares with a thin knife
- Store in a covered dish, it is shelf stable and does not require refrigeration. The longer it sits the harder it gets but it remains delicious.
This recipe makes a small batch and can be doubled or tripled for a higher yield. If you don’t have a food scale its ok. Vince shares that this recipe has been made with more or less of each ingredient and is ono in every variation.
Do you have a recipe highlighting Hawaii grown produce that you’d like to share?
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