Hello Monday – we meet again.
So, after coming down with the dreaded lurgy on Friday, which, let’s be honest was totally to be expected after nursing two sick children this past week, I was banned from entering the kitchen. This in itself has been both welcoming and devastating in equal measures. I did however, have the good sense to fall ill during the weekend my husband decided to not work. Ordinarily this would have been a nightmare and yes, granted we did miss out on some much needed quality time as a family of four but I am a firm believer that every cloud has a silver lining and this did allow me some much needed rest and the ability to sleep for a whopping 36 hours practically uninterrupted, which is not only a bloody miracle in itself but something I have never done before.
So naturally, after my marathon sleep session I was buzzing to get back in the kitchen.
Amongst my greatest food loves, or weakness’s whichever way you want to look at it are chocolate, cheese, nuts and olives (not necessarily in that order) and the Snickers bar as I was growing up would always be my go to bar whenever I needed a quick sugar fix. Therefore creating these sweet, chocolatey gooey nutty bars has been one of the biggest highlights on my journey to a refined sugar free life. They’re a little more technical than throwing a mix into a tray bake but I can sincerely promise you THEY ARE TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Chocolate Nutty Caramel Bars
- 2 Cups Oat Flour If you don't have oat flour, its easy to make your own, just use a blender to blend up 2 cups of rolled oats until they resemble a flour consistency
- 2 Cups Pitted Dates Medjool are the best but standard dates are just perfect
- 1/4 Cup Organic Palm Oil / Sugar Free Peanut Butter I used Whole Earth Peanut and Coconut Butter which is my new fave peanut butter.
- 1 Cup Mixed unsalted nuts
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 200 Grams Dark 85-90% cocoa solid Dark Chocolate
- 1 Prepare and line a 12 inch by 12 inch tray bake tin with parchment paper.
- 2. Soak your dates (ensure they're completely pitted) in a little boiled water, covering the dates for 15 minutes.
- 3. Blend up your rolled oats to form oat flour or place your oat flour in a large bowl.
- 4. Pour out some of the water from your dates, you'll need to leave a little water to create a smooth consistency when you blend, spoon in 1/4 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup.
- 5. Blend the date mixture in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
- 6. Add half the of the date mixture into the oats and combine until a thick stiff dough forms, next pat this down into your prepared tray bake tin. You'll want the thickness of the base to be approximately half an inch and using the back of a metal spoon flatten it down completely.
- 7. Place your mixed nuts into a large bowl and use the end of a rolling pin to break them up. Always fun if you need to let out a little frustration and oddly satisfying.
- 8. Combine nuts and remaining date mixture together and spoon over the flattened down oat base, spreading the mixture over the base to cover. Next place the tray in the freezer for an hour to allow the mixture to completely set.
- Tidy up while you're waiting ( the not so fun part of baking ) Prepare a chopping board with parchment paper ready for the next stage.
- 9. Break chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl. Sit over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally and remove once completely melted.
- 10. After an hour the bars should be firm enough to cut into 12 equal sizes and using two forks place each bar in the melted chocolate until completely coated and place each bar on the parchment paper. Once all of your bars are coated place in the fridge for 30 minutes until the chocolate has set.
- Enjoy x