This last week was chock full of changes – graduations, moving, and goodbyes. What did I do during all of those changes? I coped. There were three batches of cookies, one recipe of cookie dough bites, a dozen chocolate bunt cakes, two different bar varieties, and a batch of energy bites worth of coping. I may have a problem, but not a single person complained, proving my theory that sweets make everything better once and for all.
I’m not talking all sweets, though. The overly sweet ultra-refined variety certainly wouldn’t have improved an already stressful week. They would have left me feeling sluggish, tired, and less than prime. I am talking high quality treats sweetened naturally and filled with nutrients. The sweet bite that will give us energy, not detract from it. Meet exhibit A: Raw Nanimo Bars.
These bars were a product of my bake-a-thon last week, and were a crowd favorite. If you haven’t heard of nanimo bars, they are a Canadian no bake three layer dessert. The bottom layer almost always includes coconut and chocolate and is reminiscent of a gram cracker crust. The middle layer is a flavored buttercream. The top layer is pure chocolate. Delicious, yes. Stomach ache inducing, you betcha.
Instead, my version uses pecans, coconut, chocolate, and dates as the base. The middle layer is a dreamy cashew cream. This gets topped off with a raw cacao chocolate layer. These bars are filled with high quality fats, protein, antioxidents (thank you chocolate!) and just the right amount of sweetness. They are the perfect sweet bite.
- Crust ingredients:
- 2 cups dates (soaked in hot water to soften if hard)
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- Pinch salt
- Custard layer:
- 2 cups raw cashews , soaked 4-6 hours to soften and drained
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate layer:
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Pinch salt
Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by lining the bottom and up the sides with parchment paper. You want to be able to lift the bars up out of the pan with this parchment paper sling.
Add all of the crust ingredients to a food processor fitted with the S blade. Process until the mixture is broken down into small pieces and the begins to stick together. You may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor and stir things around as needed. Press the crust into the bottom of your prepared pan.
Add the filling ingredients to the food processor (after it has been cleaned out) or a high powered blender. Process or blend until the mixture is silky smooth. Pour over the crust layer and spread it out evenly. Transfer to the freezer and allow to set up for 45-60 minutes.
Once the bars have set, heat all of the chocolate layer ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until combined. Pour over the bars and quickly spread out the mixture. The chocolate layer should immediately harden since the bars are cold from the freezer. Cut into bars and serve.