I had been stuck in a food slump as of late and could not think of anything to make that was new or creative, which was a real bummer when you are trying to blog about food. One afternoon I wanted to make caramel chocolate ice cream with frozen bananas and have it on a cookie crust, that recipe was a MASSIVE fail and just did not work at all! Not too pleased with myself, I put the caramel in the fridge, because I had only used a bit of it and there it sat for a few days. Every time I opened the fridge, I saw it there staring back at me…taunting me (ok, I’m exaggerating but it felt like that) and I didn’t have a clue what to do with it. Then, I just knew what had to be done and quickly whipped up these no bake chocolate peanut butter bars and knew at first bite these were legend………………..wait for it, dary, legendary!
Before I started blogging, I would sit and think how fun it would be to be a food blogger and that you would just sit around all day and create recipes and everything would be magical. Wow, was I ever wrong?! It’s not easy to create things every day, never mind actually making something that you are proud of and want to share with the world. You go through some major slumps and have to just learn to navigate them the best you can. You also have to learn that it’s ok if the recipe is a fail, most of the time its still edible at least. You also have to be ok with putting your stuff out there for the whole world to see (although sometimes I do wonder if anyone actually reads my blog posts lol). That is the part that people don’t see, they just see a pretty image and think how this person has it so easy, just making food all day and writing about it. I know, because I was that person. Maybe, I will start documenting my fails more, because they allow people on the outside to know that we are human after all and life isn’t just one picture perfect meal after the other.
Peanut butter is bliss
At least one really amazing thing happened after that big fail and for that, I am super happy and excited to share with you these easy no bake chocolate peanut butter bars. Now that summer is here, the last thing I want to do most of the time is turn on the oven or the stove, so these are perfect at keeping my sweet tooth satisfied and my sanity in check. The base is just raw nuts, coconut and raw cacao powder with a bit of maple syrup and I went with peanut butter here because, well, peanut butter is amazing, but feel free to use any other nut butter. Although there are some issues with eating peanut butter and it not being so healthy, I still have it every now and then because nothing can really taste like peanut butter except peanut butter so therefore the foodie in me wins. Although, I do want to try a different take on this with almond butter and a different filling rather than caramel, but we’ll see if that one works out.
Date Caramel = Heaven
If you have never tried making caramel with dates, you are in for a real treat! This stuff is sooooo good. I cannot get over how amazing it tastes and that it is made from nature’s own bounty. Not sure if you know, but I didn’t even know what caramel was actually made from? Then I did a quick google search because I was curious and it turns out it is made of different types of sugars, heavy cream and butter. Well, that isn’t exactly holistic and honestly I think that if I had the real thing I would hate it as it would be far too sweet. Of course, I had caramel topping before when I was growing up, but it came from a can and I used to find it sweet even back then far before I discovered all the great refined sugar free options out there. Date caramel sauce tastes amazing, it’s not overly sweet and won’t spike your blood sugar as the dates also contain fiber which are great at regulating how quickly our blood sugar rises. Now, that isn’t to say you can eat date caramel by the spoonful, or you can eat half the tray of these squares. Bottom line, they still contain sugar and a lot of fat from the nuts, which are not a bad thing, but you can still overdo it if you eat too much of anything. This is a treat, so treat it like one!
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Now when you put together bliss and heaven and then add chocolate, you are left with one ridiculously amazing gift. So if you are feeling so inclined, share this gift with a friend or loved one and this would be especially awesome if you share with someone who doesn’t necessarily eat so healthy. See if they can taste the dates in that caramel sauce or not? I am always curious to know how other people interpret my food (outside of my bf who is used to all my crazy cooking and baking).
I used my vitamix to make the date caramel and that resulted in a super smooth sauce, although I have made it before in a food processor and it worked well so it’s up to you how you choose to make it, both options will work. Depending on how thick you want the sauce, add more or less water as you are going and then just check to see how it is coming along. I like it a bit on the thicker side because you don’t want it too watery for this recipe.
The chocolate sauce that goes on top hardens like a shell, thanks to the coconut oil I added, however if you want to leave out the coconut oil, I am sure you could just melt the chocolate on its own. For the chocolate, I like using this brand.
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Enjoy every bite of it!
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 3/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
- 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- pinch of sea salt
- 7 large medjool dates (softened in hot water if needed)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. sea salt (to taste)
- 1 cup peanut butter (natural and organic)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or use about 3/4 to one full bar of chocolate at 85 g.
- 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
- A small handful of cacao nibs (for adding on top- optional)
- Using a square pan, grease the pan with a bit of coconut oil and then place one large sheet of parchment paper over top. The coconut oil helps the parchment paper stay in place.
- Pulse together all of the ingredients in your food processor until its ground up and holds together when you press it together with your hands.
- Once your dates have softened, add all ingredients into your blender or food processor and blend until it is smooth.
- You can add a little extra water if needed.
- Pour your crust into your prepared pan and use your hands to pat it down to form a crust.
- Place that in your freezer for about 10 minutes, while you prepare the date caramel.
- Take out your pan from the freezer and add the 1 cup of peanut butter and spread it out evenly. Put back in your freezer for about 10-15 minutes and melt your chocolate.
- Place your chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove and melt.
- Take out your pan and add the date caramel layer on top of the peanut butter and then place back in your freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Take out your pan from the freezer and pour your chocolate sauce on top, you can add the optional cacao nibs on top.
- Place back in your freezer for about 1 hour to harden completely.
- Remove from the freezer and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares.