Yields: about 16 bars Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes (plus soaking of dates)
The famous duo of chocolate and peanut butter come together in these bars bringing not only taste, but loads of nutrition with dates, oats, coconut and no refined sugar!
8 large dates, soaked in water for at least an hour, pitted
3/4 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons pure coconut oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Soak dates in water for at least an hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. In a food processor, combine dates (make sure pit is out), peanut butter, egg, maple syrup, vanilla and coconut oil. Pulse until all combined.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients oatmeal, coconut flour, shredded coconut, baking soda and salt.
5. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the date and peanut butter mixture.
6. Lightly grease (with coconut oil) an 8 x 8 glass pan.
7. Pour mixture into pan, patting it down even with a spatula, or even your hands.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately top with 3/4 cup of chocolate chips, dispersing evenly over the top.
9. After a few minutes, the chocolate chips will be soft and can easily be spread to cover the bars. Let cool until chocolate hardens. For best results, store in the refrigerator.
When I was younger, one of my mom’s staple desserts was an oatmeal and peanut butter bar with chocolate topping and a peanut butter glaze on top of that. Those were some delicious bars. I really wanted to recreate them, yet, with a healthier twist.
Since Easter, I feel I’ve been having a little too much candy. We tried to keep most out of the house, but there was some we just held onto and consumed with enjoyment. Yet, I feel so sugared out. To make matters a little more intense, my husband decided to watch a documentary on the large amounts of sugar our society consumes, and the adverse effects it has on our bodies.
So, because of such timing, I decided to attempt these bars without refined sugar. I used dates and maple syrup, which break down into sugars, yet still have other nutritional benefits.
Dates are full of insoluble fiber, making them a great benefit to digestive health. Additionally, they are full of nutrients such as calcium, iron and the vitamins A and B. Maple syrup, which still a sugar, adds manganese and zinc, among other nutrients. A large benefit of both of these unrefined sugars, is that they are slowly released into the bloodstream, lessening the “sugar crash” that often happens when consuming refined sugar.
If I was serving these to company that was used to sweeter foods, I may increase the maple syrup by a few tablespoons or even add a few tablespoons of brown sugar. For our family on a regular basis, these little bars hit the spot, bringing chocolate and peanut butter together in a wonderfully healthy way!
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Other date sweetened recipes:
Amazing Avocado Date Pudding (VG, GF)
Vegan Coconut Date Fudgy Pops (VG, GF)
Sweet Potato & Date Cookies (GF)