Raw Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bars

A nice little snack bar that requires zero oven-turning-on-ness, good-for-you ingredients, and a simple food processor...

It's summer, aka it's hot. We like healthy things. And there's a food processor in the pantry.

Sounds good to me. 

Let's get going.

First of all, a few deets: These bars are not "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup" copy cats. Nor do they want to be. They just want to be themselves. And they are totally delicious as themselves. Also, they are also just sweet enough and just rich enough - consider it a perfect balance of goodness. The bottom chocolate layer may seem familiar to you because it is almost identical to the Raw Cacao Truffles from a few weeks back. The ratio of ingredients is a little different from the truffles but is similarly rich and chewy. The middle layer is a scrumptious oat and peanut butter mixture and it's all topped with a creamy chocolate ganache.

Told you it sounded good.

But wait! There's more! These bars are made with all-natural, healthy ingredients... including the sweeteners. Win, win, win.

Okay, now let's get going.

Notes: I've specified light agave nectar for its mild flavor. I also use this high-quality expeller-pressed coconut oil because it has no trace of coconut taste or scent, as does virgin coconut oil. In a bar like this, I prefer the chocolate and peanut-butter flavors to shine, and virgin coconut oil would bring another subtle flavor into the mix. So that's my reasoning behind those two ingredients. Personal preference. Go with what you like :)

** Update: I've been playing around with this recipe a little more and have discovered that I like to add more hemp and chia seeds. Here's what I've been doing: 1/2 cup hemp + 1/2 cup chia ground in a spice grinder (to get it all very finely ground). Add this to the oats after they've been processed in the food processor. This hemp+chia mixture substitutes for 1/2 cup of the walnuts, so decrease the total amount of walnuts to 1 cup.

Adapted from Nouveau Raw
Raw Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bars

bottom chocolate layer
1 1/2 cups walnuts (preferably soaked and dehydrated)
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2/3 cup raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10-16 Medjool dates, pitted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons water (if needed)

Place all ingredients in a food processor except the dates, vanilla, and water. Blend on high until everything is finely ground, a minute or two.

Add the vanilla to the food processor, then drop the dates in one at a time through the feed tube of the processor while it is running. You should end up with a mixture that appears as cake-like crumbs, but when pressed will easily stick together. If the mixture does not hold together well, add a few more dates or a couple drops of water.

Press the mixture evenly into an 8x8 baking pan with your hand. Place the pan in the freezer while you make the peanut-butter layer.

middle peanut-butter layer
1 1/3 cups oats
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup natural peanut-butter
1/3 cup raw honey
2 tablespoons expeller-pressed coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place oats in the food processor with the salt. Process until it becomes a fine powder.

Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed. You may need to stop the processor a few times and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure the dough thorougly mixes.

Remove the pan of bars from the freezer. Place the peanut-butter mixture on top and press firmly with your hand to create an even layer. Return the pan to the freezer while you make the ganache topping.

ganache topping
6 tablespoons light agave nectar
1/2 cup raw cacao (or unsweetened cocoa)
1/4 cup expeller-pressed coconut oil, melted
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a blender and process for a few seconds. Stop to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, then continue to blend until smooth.

Remove the pan of bars from the freezer. Pour the ganache over the top and spread evenly. Cover the bars and chill in the refridgerator until ready to serve.

Yield: about 16 bars, depending on how large or small you cut them
This post shared on The Nourishing Gourmet and Beyond the Peel