My final year at university has just begun, and already I am faced with a beast of a dissertation to start attacking and a somewhat unappealing amount of poetry to dissect. So what better time would there be to share this super easy recipe as a little pick-me-up for my fellow suffering students
(and of course all the grown-ups in the real world with real stress) – perfect for satisfying all those naughty cravings that seem to surface in manic periods of our lives.
What is truly great about this foolproof recipe is its flexibility in ingredients. I have made these so many times but never have they been exactly the same. I like to use whatever nuts I have sitting in my pantry and bung them all in there, along with any other added extras I might fancy (Top Tips for some suggestions). The nut bars I’m sharing today use cashews and Brazil nuts, but be as different and creative as you like – any combination works! My personal favourite is a hazelnut/walnut combo, but I’m desperate to try a hazelnut/macadamia nut combo which I’ve found near impossible because I can’t seem to find a big enough bag of macadamia nuts that isn’t stupidly expensive! So please do leave a comment if you know of somewhere that sells economical macadamia nuts…
This recipe is of course dairy, gluten, and refined sugar free (also potentially vegan) – and on top of all that the bars are raw, so they are packed with plenty of nutritional benefits!
- This recipe is dairy free but if the richness of the cacao is a little too much for you just add a splash of milk to the saucepan when making the topping.
- Having made my caramel digestives, I had some spare caramel sauce so I put a very thin layer of that in between the cacao topping and the bar – totally optional but added yumminess!
- Other bits and bobs you could bung in the food processor could include: cacao nibs, dried cranberries, raisins, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, goji berries – you get the gist.
- This is a recipe that requires very little precision, meaning, if you don’t have quite the exact right amount of a certain ingredient it’s more than okay to improvise! Please don’t hesitate to leave a question in the comments section if you need any guidance!
Ingredients (yield 20 rectangular bars)
1 1/2 cups cashews
1 1/2 cups brazil nuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
8 pitted dates chopped
3 tbsp honey/maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
6 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey/maple syrup
- Add the nuts and pumpkin seeds to the food processor and process until a chunky nut mixture is formed.
- Add the rest of the ingredients for the bar into the processor with the nuts and seeds and whizz until a sticky mixture forms.
- Put the sticky mixture into a baking tray, pressing it into place so that it is compact in the tray. Leave in the fridge whilst preparing the toppings.
- Prepare the caramel sauce.
- In a saucepan melt the coconut oil and then add the cacao and honey or maple syrup, making sure to mix it well.
- Using a spatula spread the caramel sauce evenly over the nut bar tray and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow to set.
- Pour the cacao topping over the caramel nut tray and return to the freezer for a further 15 minutes to allow to set.
- Cut into squares and enjoy! Store in the fridge.