Healthy Peanut Butter Cup Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Heeeeey everyone. Guess what today is? NATIONAL PEANUT BUTTER DAY. This is comical because a) who the hell comes up with these “days” and why???? b) “national” presumably applies to the US and I live in Canada, but of course as a new food blogger I MUST jump at the chance to promote my recipes/website by way of a made up, pointless day (on second thought, maybe food bloggers are the ones who come up with these?) and c) all of this is actually irrelevant because every single day is “peanut butter day” in my life so I DON’T NEED THIS!
Okay actually – hell yes I’m gonna take this chance to post a peanut butter recipe because this is the type of thing on my mind 98% of the time anyway. It’s perfect! These bars are my dreeeeaaaaam omg. PB day or not, you should make these immediately.
– A delicious crust with oats + coconut that is very low in sugar
– TONS OF PB in squished into the centre (is that a gross word? I literally have no other word to use for what’s going on here)
– A chocolate topping with sea salt. I don’t even know how to properly express the importance of sea salt. Sea salt on sweet things is a great gift to this earth.
HAPPY PB DAY. Best day ever in my books! Feel free to celebrate this every day (like I do) and make these whenever you damn feel like it. Okay byeee!
- 1 c. rolled oats
- ½ c. coconut (can sub nut meal - I did half and half)
- ¼ c. cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- 8 dates (I used honey dates so they’re a bit smaller than Medjool – it was probably about ⅓ c.) (could also sub ¼ c. maple syrup)
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1-2 tbsp. almond milk, as needed
- 1 c. natural peanut butter
- 6 tbsp. coconut flour (note: my PB was super runny so I needed a lot of flour. You might need less!)
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- pinch of salt
- optional: 2-4 tbsp. maple syrup if you like it sweet
- ½ c. cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp. coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. almond butter
- ¼ c. maple syrup OR 8 drops stevia (for low sugar version)
- *note: you could also just melt half a cup of chocolate chips for this layer!
- Place all of the base ingredients except the almond milk in your food processor. Blend until a dry dough starts to come together. Taste and see if it's sweet enough - if not, add a few more dates or a bit of maple! Then add in 1 tbsp. of almond milk and check on the texture - if it's dough-like and stays when pressed between the fingers, you're good. If it's still too dry, add another tbsp. of almond milk. Press this mixture into a parchment-lined , 8x8 baking pan and place in the freezer.
- Combine all of the peanut butter filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Use more or less coconut flour depending on the texture of your peanut butter - this mixture should be slightly viscous so it will hold between the other two bar layers but still be easily spreadable. Add this on top of your base and place it back in the freezer.
- Combine the chocolate topping ingredients in a small saucepan and melt over low heat. Whisk until combined and pour over the other 2 bar layers. SPRINKLE WITH SEA SALT! Sorry for yelling but this is a must.
- Place the pan back in the freezer and let it set for 1 hour or so. Remove, cut into small squares and enter heaven as you bite into this perfection!
*Important note: these should be stored in the freezer. Because of the coconut oil chocolate, they melt very easily at room temperature, so they're best eaten straight out of the freezer!
*Other important note: I just made the almost-sugar-free version of these and it's actually still SO good. I just did a few dates in the crust and then no sweetener in the filling, and about 8 drops of stevia in the topping. Recommended!