Wednesday 7 February 2018

Chocolate Hazelnut and Peanut Butter Bars (Vegan Option)

Right, so valentine's day is just around the corner and what better way to show your loved ones you care than with chocolate?! I don't mean going out and buying any old box of chocolates. I'm talking the homemade kind, in a truly wonderful gooey nutty chocolatey treat (with the box of chocolates thrown on top for good measure) - that's the chocolate hazelnut part of the recipe... ferrero rochers all crumbled up and sprinkled over the bars before baking. Although you'll have to find an alternative for all you vegans. 

I have to say I've not always been peanut butter's biggest fan, but just recently I've started to liken to its use in sweet stuff, not just the savoury. I feel like this sort of recipe is a great starting point for those who aren't a fan of peanut butter to give it a go, I'm sure it will be a game changer as it certainly was for me. There's a whole lot of other things going on in these bars, with all the chocolate and also banana may I add (not in the recipe title I know, but it's long enough as it is don't you think?!) the combination of flavors really balances it all out well. 

The idea for the base of the bars came from the recipe inspiration of blogger - Feasting on Fruit. It's essentially like a brownie style -ish crust, made from oat flour, cocoa powder (or cacao powder) honey (or maple syrup) and a splash of water to bring it all together. It does feel healthy in a way, with no added refined sugars which I can kinda justify to then allow myself to snack on these alllll week long, basically I have a bar a day (they last well in an air-tight container) they are great as a post-uni snack but let's just by pass the tiny point that they also have all that chocolate on top shall we? 

You may find it hard or funny to believe that the reason I decided to add ferreo rochers on top was that I STILL had them leftover from Christmas. It's February people!  I had soooo much chocolate given to me as presents that I've really had to eat it slowly to keep my teeth in a general state of health.  I'm not gonna lie, I was sick of the sight of my chocolate pile in the corner of the room (sad times I know, proper first world problems). So I thought let's end this once and for all by adding it to a bake that I would actually be excited to eat. I hope you're excited as I am and give this a whirl! 

Chocolate Hazelnut and Peanut Butter Bars (Vegan Option) 

Makes 8 bars


For the base crust:

160g (1 + 3/4 cup) oats
50g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder [cacao powder if vegan]
190g (3/4 cup) peanut butter [make sure to check if vegan]
150g (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp) honey [maple syrup if vegan]
6-8 tbsp water

For the peanut butter layer:

3 large bananas (325g)
65g (1/4 cup) peanut butter

For the topping:

100g Ferreo Rochers (or other chocolates of your choice)
25g white chocolate 
[if vegan sub. for vegan chocolate of your choice such as Vego whole hazelnut bars]


Line and grease an 8x10 inch high sided rectangular baking tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas 4. To make the oat flour, blitz the oats in a food processor until a fine powder is achieved. Decant into a mixing bowl and add the cocoa. Put the peanut butter into a separate microwaveable bowl and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs to slacken it and make it more pour-able. Add to the oat bowl with the honey and enough water until you have a sticky dough. 

Pour the oat mixture into the prepared tin and press down so that the base is completely covered and evenly distributed. Next, peel the bananas and add to a blender with the peanut butter. Blitz until smooth. Pour onto the base crust. 

Roughly chop the chocolate of your choice and scatter over the peanut butter layer. Lightly press the chocolate down with your hands until submerged. 

Bake the bars for approximately 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin and then transfer to the fridge and leave overnight. 

The following day or at least 6 hours later, slice into 8 bars. Keep the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. 

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