To be honest, I don’t have anything clever or anecdotal to write about this recipe. But it’s been sitting in my “drafts” folder for too long, and lack of witticism is no reason to keep a sweet tooth-satisfying recipe from you.
This has been one of our go-to’s for a couple of years now. It’s raw, vegan and gluten free, as well as free from refined sugars. But the thick layer of chocolate on top really helps distract from any health-conscious biases.
Added bonus: The addition of both ground cashews and almond butter provides a hefty serving of protein, making these a candy bar you don’t have to sneak.
Cashew Candy Bars (That Just So Happen To Be Raw, Vegan & Gluten Free)
A couple notes: You will need a powerful food processor for this recipe. Although there is very little prep to make these bars, they do need to chill for a good 6-8 hours before enjoying.
Makes about 18 bars
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Bars
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
For the bars:
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (168 g)
- 1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and roughly chopped (275 g whole)
- 1/2 cup almond butter (120 g)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (56 g)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (43 g)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
For the topping:
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (60% or higher) (255 g)
- 1 1/2 TB coconut oil (20 g)
For the bars:
- Line a 7 x 11-inch (2.2 qt) baking dish with parchment paper with extra hanging over the sides. Set aside.
- In a food processor, grind the cashews to a very fine meal. Add the dates, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, shredded coconut and almond extract and pulse until a sticky ball of dough forms.
- Press the cashew mixture evenly into the prepared pan (it should be about 1 inch deep). It helps to dampen your hands with water before doing this. Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours, or until firm.
For the topping:
- Once the cashew mixture is firm, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring after each 30 seconds, just until melted. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cold cashew mixture. Return the bars to the fridge until the chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
- Using the parchment overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into rectangles. Serve at once, or store in an airtight container.
- If you don’t have a 7 x 11-inch (2.2 qt) baking dish, don’t worry about it! Just use whatever you have that is closest (8×8, 9×9, 9×13). The variation will come in the thickness of the bar and layer of chocolate.
- I like to store these bars in the fridge – they’ll last up to two weeks. But it’s best to let them soften a bit before enjoying, so the chocolate layer is easier to sink your teeth into.
- I usually avoid any recipe that calls for almond extract. I’m just not a fan. But these bars are the exception. The almond extract provides a very welcome depth of flavor that generously complements – not competes with – the other ingredients.
- For those who are curious, “raw” by definition is anything that hasn’t been heated over 104–118°F. Chocolate melts at 86–90°F. So if by chance you’re following a strict raw diet, you can still indulge in these candy bars, complete with the decadent chocolate layer.
- Recipe ever so slightly adapted from It’s All Good, by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen.
Keywords: vegan, raw, gluten free, cashews, gwyneth paltrow, julia turshen