Confession #123: Chocolate is my vice … Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars {GF, Vegan}

by alexandra

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You know those days when you’re sitting there swooning over a bowl of ice cream and thinking about how you’re going to start eating healthier tomorrow? I feel like this happens to me on a weekly basis; I decide that I should go on a little health kick, make healthier breakfasts, eat less bread, etc. The problem is that as soon as I start to think logistics, I hit a brick wall – basically a chocolate wall in my world. If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, I have a bit of a chocolate addiction. That means that the thought of going without dessert (read: chocolate) for even a day is pretty much unheard of for me. I always, ALWAYS figure out a way to have my chocolate. If you lived with me, you would only know all to well how true this is.

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars | brighteyedbaker.com

And what about all the other challenges to eating healthy besides the chocolate issue? There’s those carbs, too; I love bread, and I love cookies, and both (sadly) contain carbs. You can see how quickly this story of my grand plans for eating healthy could turn into a sob story if I didn’t have any self-control. That’s why I have to have tricks up my sleeve, like these Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars. They involve chocolate and they’re pretty close to being no-guilt. I loooovve it!

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars | brighteyedbaker.com

These bars couldn’t be simpler. This is basically the gist of what goes into them:

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars | brighteyedbaker.com

So I know, the whole “secret” to making bars out of dates and nuts isn’t super new; these days you hear the words “healthy brownie” and you can bet that what you’re gonna hear next involves the words “cocoa, nuts, dates, food processor”…the end. But don’t check out; these bars are different! When you toast the nuts and oats, they develop so much more flavor that you can actually taste in the finished bars. The pecans, especially, taste ah-mazing toasted. It’s the same trick I use in my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and it’s totally worth the extra couple minutes it takes. Then after you add those warm, toasty nuts and oats to the dates,you blend in that luscious dark chocolate  (because sometimes you need the chocolate, not just the cocoa), and easy, healthy, no-bake bars become totally rich, delicious treats. You get a tiny note of saltiness in some of the bites that’s so perfect, and vanilla in every bite that just completes the whole thing.

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars | brighteyedbaker.com

The first time I made these, I didn’t mean for the chocolate to get all melty and make these bars what they are, but they did, and it was amazing, and I haven’t looked back since. The combination of rich nutty flavors, dark chocolate, and lots of vanilla makes me seriously feel like these bars are dessert, except for the fact that I can eat them in the middle of the day with no guilt. It’s like something from my dreams, you guys. If you’re a chocolate addict/cookie lover like me, you need to try these! (And they’re so easy to make, you basically have no excuse not to!)

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars 4

P.S. Have you entered into the giveaway I have going on now? One of you will win a $50 store credit for Minted.com! They have some of the cutest business cards, invitations, stationary, party supplies, and other paper goods ever. If I could I would seriously be entering to win myself!Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars 4

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Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars - rich and chocolate-y oat and nut bars that are completely healthy! | www.brighteyedbaker.com

Healthy Dark Chocolate No-Bake Bars


  • Yield: 16 bars

Description

These no-bake bars are loaded with nutritious ingredients but taste sinfully rich, chocolate-y and delicious! They’re so easy to make and perfect for an on-the-go snack.


Ingredients

  • 5 3/4 ounces (2 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) pecans
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1 cup) slivered almonds
  • 5 1/2 ounces (1 cup, halved and packed in) pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (1 1/3 cup) dark chocolate baking chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and divide the oats, pecans, and almonds between the two sheets, spreading out in flat layers. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes to toast, switching and rotating sheets halfway through the baking time, until nuts and oats smell fragrant. Lift the parchment off of the baking sheets and use to transfer the nuts and oats to a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment. Allow to cool 20 minutes.
  2. Add the dates to the food processor and sprinkle over the salt. Process the mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Add 6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips and process in partway. Add the remaining 2 ounces and continue to process until the mixture has turned evenly brown from the melting chocolate. You may need to stop and use a spatula to push the mixture around (basically helping the machine out) periodically. Add the vanilla extract and pulse in.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a parchment or foil-lined 8″ square pan. Press in to fill the entire pan and use a wide spatula to flatten the top. Place in the refrigerator to cool until firm, about 30-60 minutes. Use the parchment or foil to lift the bars out of the pan, and then slice into bars with a serrated knife.
  4. Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before eating (my preference!)*

Notes

*You can also wrap each bar in plastic wrap so that it’s all ready as a grab-and-go snack. Since these are even more awesome at room temperature, it works out perfectly; they’ll come to room temp. by the time you’re ready to snack!

These bars remind me of my Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars. They’re perfect for the days when you aren’t craving chocolate, and they’re even healthier!

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

And if you love snacking on nutty foods, you should try making DIY Peanut Butter. It’s so pure and tasty, but it doesn’t have all the unhealthy ingredients found in store-bought Peanut Butter. :)

DIY Peanut Butter from Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re into the kind of goodies I’m baking (or not baking) up here, you can follow along by e-mail or RSS to recieve updates of new posts. You can also browse for more recipes in the recipe index!

What’s your favorite healthy snack or treat?

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Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! May 29, 2013

Oh man, these look so good! And healthy! I’m on a kick right now of making healthy snacks like these bars. I’m definitely going to have to add these to my “must make” list. Thanks for the great recipe!
Colleen @ What’s Baking in the Barbershop?! recently posted..Banana Blueberry Peanut Butter OatmealMy Profile

alexandra May 29, 2013

I think you’ll love them! The chocolate really makes them seem rich and delicious even though there are so many healthy ingredients packed in. Hope you get to try them out soon!

Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic May 29, 2013

These look amazing! As overdone as the dates + nuts + food processor formula may be, it works. And it works well. So I am all in favor of it because it produces recipes like this!
Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic recently posted..Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

alexandra May 29, 2013

So true! When it comes to bars, dates are the perfect sweetener. And thank you so much!

Ashley May 30, 2013

Sold! I need to make these – I love that they have chocolate in them. And I always like to have healthy snacks on hand for cravings (since I have a tendency to get cranky when I’m hungry lol)
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alexandra June 4, 2013

Haha – I get a little cranky when I’m really hungry too. I LOVE these though; they’re one of my favorite healthy snacks ever because they taste so much like dessert!

Katarina May 31, 2013

Yummy, these look so delicious!
Katarina recently posted..Coconut-Lemon Curd-Raspberry MuffinsMy Profile

alexandra May 31, 2013

Thanks Katarina! They really are!

Ashleigh June 7, 2013

How many bars does this recipe make?

alexandra June 7, 2013

12 :)

Stephanie July 22, 2013

Have you tried adding a dollop of peanut butter? I love the combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter!

alexandra July 23, 2013

Nope, but I’ve been meaning to make a chocolate-peanut butter variation of these bars for a while now! Let me know if you try it!

Stephanie July 24, 2013

I’ve just made them. They’re setting in the fridge as we speak. I think I may have overdone the peanut butter though- i added 3 tablespoons to a half batch- so added a bit of honey to balance out the savoury taste! Will report back tomorrow. Thanks a million for the recipe though- I think I’ll have fun messing around with this one! :)

Stephanie July 27, 2013

Yip, peanut butter definitely works. I’m addicted!!! Thank god there’s nothing bad in them or I’d be in trouble! Thanks again for the recipe !

Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life January 8, 2014

Found this via Pinterest and your best of 2013 post! They look incredible! I love how thick and dense they are. Making them as we speak!
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alexandra January 9, 2014

I’m so glad you made them and liked them; they’re some of my favorites! So chocolate-y and sooo good. :D

Dianna February 4, 2014

I just made these and wow!! I did sub, using what I had. (Couldnt wait haha) I used hazelnuts and milk chocolate instead, and they are wonderful. I ended up throwing in the full package of everything: 16oz dates, 6oz hazelnuts, 12oz choc chips, 2 cups oats, and 1 TB vanilla. Roasted, cooled, blended, pressed and drizzled w white chocolate. (Made them look kid friendly for my 3 boys) couldn’t be easier or yummier! Can’t think you enough, in following you on Pinterest now!

alexandra February 6, 2014

OMG, I think your version sounds even better than mine! As you could obviously tell the recipe is pretty tweakable. The hazelnuts, though, would be ah-mazing I’m sure! Did you skin them?

Heather February 26, 2014

I have made a variation of this recipe and they were delish!! I am a chocoholic & love that these are so healthy. However, would you be able to give me nutritional value of these per serving. Just wanted to know mostly calories. I’m hooked on your website & get updates thru facebook and just can’t wait to see the recipes that come thru.

alexandra March 5, 2014

I don’t compute nutritional values for my recipes but there are a variety of tools you can find online that let you put in the ingredients and do just that. Try Google. :)
Also, I’m so glad you like the blog! You can also get updates by e-mail or RSS if you’re interested; it’s more consistent since I’m not always great about staying on top of Facebook.

Aimee August 11, 2014

Just made these bars and they are awesome! I’m eating my 1st one right now the sweet and salty combination is delicious. They are also very easy to make it only took a few minutes once I toasted the nuts and oatmeal. Great recipe!!!!

alexandra August 18, 2014

Thanks so much! I love that salty-sweet combo too. :)

Patricia August 24, 2014

I made these and they turned out great; I’m getting ready to make some more. I decided to use a good quality chocolate though instead of the chips, and got a Lindt Excellence 70% bar (they also make 85, 90 and 99%, btw). I also pressed the “dough” into a loaf pan and, after refrigerating, cut into one-inch squares. Thanks for sharing!

alexandra August 25, 2014

So happy you seem to love the bars as much as I do! I’m really picky about my chocolate chips so I only buy Ghirardelli, but using a good chocolate bar is never a bad idea!

Crissy February 28, 2015

Do you know how many calories are in these? They look amazing!

alexandra March 3, 2015

I don’t actually; that’s not something I personally like to calculate with recipes, but you can always plug the information into a nutrition calculator online to figure that out!

michelle April 13, 2015

Just calculated, 252 calories eacy

michelle April 13, 2015

These BARS are the bomb… i have made them every weekend for the past month…. they truly due satisfy that “evening/post dinner” chocolate craving…

alexandra April 14, 2015

Awesome! So glad you’re loving them! And thanks for sharing the nutritional info for those who were wondering. :)

jorie March 29, 2016

Are the dark chocolate no bake bars soft and chewy/moist… or a little dryer and harder like granola bars? Just wondering before I make them.

alexandra March 30, 2016

When they’re refrigerated, they’re on the firm side. If you leave them at room temp for a bit, they’re soft and moist. It really just depends on how you like them. :)

alexandra July 27, 2013

Awesome!! I will definitely have to try it out. Thanks so much for letting me know! It’s crazy how good a few ingredients smashed together can be, right?! :D

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