Practically Raw Brownie-Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars (vegan/plant-based)

Yield: 8 bars

Thrse confections put the eat in treat!

While they aren’t exactly health food, though they are made of all healthy ingredients, they add up to quite a few calories. So moderation is the key for you tuck into these moist slices of decadence.

They contain no vegan butter, but a little coconut oil, no sugar, but a little agave syrup, and no flour. Because they are vegan, they include no eggs or dairy of course. Their dense, moist, sweet texture comes largely from dates and unblanched almond flour.

Why these? Why now? Sometimes, late in the afternoon, I crave just a little something sweet. I had been taunted by various raw bars and balls on Pinterest. The balls appeal because you can make as few as you like, and since we aren’t entertaining during the pandemic, I like that approach.

But I prefer the shape and presentation of bars for brownies and such. So I decided on a small batch that would fit in a 5×9-in loaf pan.

I wanted to create a double layer of brownie and chocolate chip cookie dough, but the raw versions of the latter tend to include peanut butter and, though I like peanut butter and chocolate just fine, I did not want that flavor for this. I figured I coukd make the dough moist enough by using dates and agave syrup, and I was right!

I believe the only ingredient preventing these bars from being totally raw is the chocolate chips that I used in the cookie dough layer. But you could substitute cocoa nibs.

Regardless, enjoy!

Brownie Layer

20 moist pitted dates

3/4 cup unlanched almond meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder or extra dark cocoa powder (I used the latter)

2 tablespoons agave syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid at room temperature)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer (recipe follows)

8 pecan halves

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Optional: chocolate drizzle

Oil a 5×9-in loaf pan and line it with a strip of parchment paper that covers just the long sides and bottom with a little hanging over the edge on both sides. In the bowl of a large food processor, place all ingredients and process until dough comes together. Press into bottom of prepared pan in an even layer. Make Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer and press evenly over brownie layer. Press pecan halves into top surface, four in each of two rows. Drizzle with chocolate if desired. Freeze to firm up, and then store covered in refrigerator until serving time. Slice into 8 bars with a serrated knife and serve immediately.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer

20 pitted dates

1 1/4 cup unblatched almond flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons agave syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid at room temperature)

2 teaspoons dark or light molasses

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup broken pecans

1/4 cup vegan dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Drizzle

1 tablespoon coconut oil (solid at room temperature)

2 tablespoons agave syrup

2 tablespoons cocoa powder or dark cocoa powder (I used the latter)

Melt coconut oil in a small bowl in microwave, and whisk in agave syrup and cocoa powder. Whisk in more agave syrup or cocoa powder if necessary to desire drizzling consistency.

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