We recently made a trip back to Kansas to visit family and friends and during our stay I got to hang out with my pal, Laura, who is my kindred spirit who also eats gluten-free, is super into baking, and even crafted this fine Gluten Free Pizza Crust Recipe. Isn’t she a gem?
We were passing through a health food store, checking out their wares, when I spotted a Hail Merry almond butter tart on the top shelf. The tart and I locked eyes, and I immediately knew its destiny: my stomach. So I snatched one up and we promptly devoured it.
This is my inspired version.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 9 basic ingredients and 20 minutes to make!
The chocolate date-nut crust is adapted from my No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecakes. The filling is just almond butter mixed with a little sea salt and maple syrup. And the top layer is a simplified version of my 2-ingredient Dark Chocolate Truffles!
What’s not to love?
The reason I love these bars so much – besides the fact that they come together in 20 minutes – is the salty-sweet combo.
Plus, they’re naturally sweetened (aside from the dark chocolate ganache), and chock-full of protein and fiber thanks to the nuts and almond butter. Serious love for these gems.
I hope you LOVE these bars! They’re:
Quick & easy
& Insanely delicious
These would make the perfect bars to have on hand during the week when you’re craving something sweet but not overly indulgent. They’re also great for entertaining, as they’re sure to please a crowd.
If you try this recipe, you have to let us know! We love your comments, ratings, and – as always – your photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
- 1 1/2 cups (168 g) raw or roasted almonds or walnuts
- 1/4 cup (24 g) cocoa powder
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 cup packed (~200 g) dates
- 1 cup (256 g) creamy or crunchy almond butter (or sub other nut or seed butter)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 1/4 cup (9 ounces / 255 g) vegan dark chocolate, very finely chopped
- 7 Tbsp (105 ml) light coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp (15 g) coconut oil
- Prepare crust by adding nuts, cocoa powder, and sea salt to a food processor and blending into a meal. Remove from bowl and set aside.
- Add dates to the food processor and mix/pulse until small bits remain or a ball forms. Break up the dates with a spoon so they're not all in one clump. Then add the nut-cocoa mixture back in and blend to combine until a loose dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking dish and spread with fingers to evenly distribute. Then top with parchment paper or plastic wrap and use a flat-bottomed object - such as a drinking glass or measuring cup - to press and pack the crust into a solid, even layer. Remove parchment paper and set aside.
- Add almond butter to a small mixing bowl along with maple syrup and sea salt. Stir to combine. (Depending on the brand, if it is extremely runny you may need to add a little almond meal to thicken until spreadable, but I didn't find this necessary.)
- Add the almond butter mixture to the crust in spoonfuls. Then top with parchment paper again and use the same object from earlier to spread and pack the mixture down into a flat, uniform layer. Remove parchment paper and set in freezer to chill.
- Add finely chopped dark chocolate to a medium mixing bowl. Add coconut milk and coconut oil to a separate glass mixing bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave until hot but not boiling (alternatively, heat in a saucepan on the stovetop until very hot). Pour the coconut milk directly over the chocolate, stir to combine, and cover with something (such as plastic wrap) to encourage it to melt.
- Let set for 5 minutes. Then whisk to combine. The mixture should be entirely melted and smooth. If not, heat in the microwave in 20-30 second increments until entirely smooth and no chunks remain. (Alternatively, set your glass or ceramic mixing bowl over a double boiler on the stovetop to melt).
- Remove 8x8-inch pan from the freezer and pour the ganache on top. Spread with a spoon until smooth. Then add back to the freezer to set for 5-10 minutes, or until semi-firm to the touch (enough to slice).
- Slice into desired number of bars: 9-12 or even smaller so they're "bites" rather than "bars." Enjoy immediately. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 1 month.