Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars
New month, new week, new day, new snack bar recipe.
This time peanuts, peanut butter, and a whole mess of chocolate are coming together to create what might just be my favorite snack bar combination yet.
Shocking, I’m sure.
Let’s rewind to spring 2015. I made vanilla almond snack bars, a homemade KIND bar copycat of sorts, to bring on a camping trip. Sweet, salty, and purely addicting. I remember eating almost the entire batch myself. Since then I’ve made a parade of flavors including cashew coconut, chocolate cherry, pumpkin spice cranberry, and berry cashew. Each variety is wholesome and simple, packed with ingredients you can see, sweet from honey (or brown rice syrup) and dried fruit, and won’t leave you with a mega sugar crash. Grain-free, gluten-free, zero refined sugar, packed with nature’s finest like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Kevin and I can go through a batch in 2 days and I feel so much better snacking on these homemade bars than $3 store-bought energy bars.
It’s been several months since I posted a new snack bar flavor. And, to be honest, I meant to share this version with you back in the spring! I changed a couple odds and ends since I last made them in April. I added a little more vanilla extract, some extra peanuts, and a chocolate drizzle. I mean there always has to be a chocolate drizzle when peanut butter is involved. Right? Right???
You only need 8 ingredients. And they aren’t anything out of the ordinary; I’d say the most unique ingredient would be the almond meal. Almond meal is the “flour” to help bind all of the ingredients together. It’s simply ground up almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter. I make almond meal (also known as almond flour, if using blanched almonds and grinding a little more fine) by pulsing whole almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency.
I shared this photo with you before, but here it is again so you can see:
Sticky honey and 5 finely chopped dates also help bind, while giving the bars flavor and sweetness. A generous Tablespoon of peanut butter does the same: flavor and binding, while peanuts make up the bulk of the bar. I use salted peanuts because I love a salty sweet treat more than anything. You can use unsalted if you prefer and add salt to your taste. About those peanuts: give them a few chops. See them in the photo above? I use my food processor and pulse them a few times. Do you have one? I have two: my trusty Ninja (which doubles as a blender!) and this new one. I use the food processor to roughly chop up the dates too. A food processor comes in VERY handy for snack bar making!
Like my other flavors, the prep couldn’t be easier. Mix everything together in 1 bowl then press tightly into a baking pan. They only take about 20-22 minutes at a low temperature; you only want to bake them until they’re properly set and very lightly browned on the edges. In the past year making batch after batch, I’ve learned that a little extra time in the oven is OK and actually helps the bars stay intact when cutting and eating. But, generally, 20ish minutes is the sweet spot.
Kevin says they taste just like his family’s no-bake cookies. Which are loaded with sugar and butter. And oats. They’re actually nothing like no-bake cookies, but they do taste like dessert! I keep them in the refrigerator and they’re the perfect cold chocolate-y treat for after dinner. And again right before bed. Also along with your breakfast smoothie the next day. (That you won’t SPILL ON YOUR DOG because you have your life together.) And then after lunch. All day long, chocolate peanut butter snack bars totally hitting the spot.
Enjoy this new snack bar flavor!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars
- 1/3 cup (114g) honey or brown rice syrup1
- 1/3 cup (37g) almond meal2
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) peanut butter (any nut butter works!)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups (300g) salted peanuts, roughly chopped3
- 5 Medjool dates, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup (60g) mini chocolate chips4
- optional but not really: 4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the honey, almond meal, peanut butter, and vanilla together until combined. Fold in the peanuts, dates, and chocolate chips until combined.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This firms up the bars which helps them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. You can drizzle with chocolate before or after cutting.
- Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find they get a little sticky at room temperature over a few days, so I prefer the refrigerator.
Make ahead tip: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
- I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave-- honey or brown rice syrup are perfect.
- You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/3 cup of slivered, sliced, or whole almonds. Pulse them in a food processor until a crumbly meal has formed. Do not run the food processor continuously; you may end up with almond butter. Little pulses are best. You will end up with around 1/3 cup almond meal.
- I like to use salted peanuts because they make the bars salty/sweet. If using unsalted, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
- I like to use mini chocolate chips because you get more in each bite! Regular size chocolate chips work as well.
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