(Grain Free, Vegan, No bake)
serves 16Ingredients: Cookie Layer
- 1/2c ground almonds
- 1/2c ground pecans
- 2T Vanilla extract
- 8-12 pitted dates
- Pumpkin Butter frosting
- 1 – 1 1/2c chocolate chunks of chips of choice [I broke apart a large chunk of a Trader Joe’s 1lb dark chocolate bar]
- 1t coconut oil
Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. In a food processor grind your almonds and pecans into meal (not looking for perfection, no worries if it’s still a bit chunky). Add your vanilla extract and process. Through the food processor chute, begin adding dates until the mixture is well combined and holds when pressed together without being overly sticky. When you’ve got your desired “firmness”, press the mixture evenly into the baking pan and pan. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to firm.
Pull the pan out of the freezer and top with a generous, thick layer of Pumpkin Butter frosting [I think just about any frosting would be good, too]. Place the pan back in the freezer for 20-30 minutes for the frosting to firm up.
After 20 minutes, place your chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Set microwave for short (12 second) intervals. Be sure to stir the chocolate between intervals so that it doesn’t burn or harden; we’re just trying to melt it. When it’s nice and melted, pull the baking pan from the freezer and spread the chocolate layer evenly over the top.
Guess what happens next? That’s right! The pan goes back in the freezer! Give it some time (if you can be patient) to harden.
When it’s good and solid, grab a knife and cut yourself a square or two… or three, or four (guilty!).
Thanks to the coconut oil in the chocolate, the chocolate not only looks nice and smooth but it’s easy to cut into, as well, without breaking apart into chunks. Despite the amount of nuts used in the recipe, the combination of all of the nuts, extract and dates the bottom layer tastes just like a cookie. And the gooey, Pumpkin Butter frosting center is flavorful without being overwhelmingly sweet. These Naniamo Bars in general are not over-the-top sweet (the combination of layers lends all the necessary sweetness). And like all of my desserts and dishes, you won’t walk away from the plate hating yourself because these are all good ingredients (yes, even the chocolate).
For my first crack at making Naniamo Bars, I think I may have invented my own version of crack! I’m addicted…. think I’ll eat another one now.
I should probably mention that I found a Halloween mold and decided to use that instead of a pan. I love the spooky shapes and really I love any chance to celebrate a holiday in a cutesy way. I don’t do scary. Give me eery shaped Naniamo Bars and Snoopy and The Great Pumpkin any day!