Raw Vegan Chocolate Nut Bars

When you hear the word “vegan”, do you run away screaming for your mommy? What about the words “raw vegan”? Or are you one of those tough guys that wears a shirt that says “I eat vegans”?
I’m not a vegan myself (just a vegetarian as of right now) but I can’t say I understand the stigma towards people that make that life choice. Well I do understand it but at the same time I don’t. I’m of the mindset that you can to whatever the heck you want with your life as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights or well-being of others. Unfortunately there is a lot of “holier than thou” vegans out there who look down upon anyone who hasn’t chosen to follow the same path.
Or there is the stereotype that all vegetarians/vegans are animal lovers who can’t stand the thought of eating fuzzy, cute, little animals. Which could not be farther from the truth. I have nothing against eating animals, I did it for the first 17 years of my life. My high school grad present was a foie gras tasting menu for goodness sake! My problem is with the way we RAISE our animals and how disconnected most people are from this process. Yeah, I could go connect with a farmer whose practices I agree with and support. But for now I’m ok not eating meat. I never thought that I could do it but in all honesty, I don’t miss it.
And why would you when you can eat desserts like this? I challenge anyone to try this recipe and say that it tastes “vegan” (assuming you have a negative view as to what vegan food tastes like). Not to mention raw desserts are EASY. If my sister can get in the kitchen and help me with something, believe me, you can too (no offence there bud). My only tidbit of advice is to use your culinary instinct. I had to change a few aspects of the original recipe because I could tell by looking at the individual components that it wasn’t going to work. For example, if your crust is too dry, add more moisture to make it stick together (in this case I used almond butter). If the filling is too liquidy, add some ground almonds or other nuts in there to help solidify it (otherwise, you won’t be able to slice the bars). Pretty simple stuff, just never assume that the recipe is the rule if your gut is telling you otherwise.
Raw Vegan Chocolate Nut Bars
Raw Vegan Chocolate Nut Bars
Raw Vegan Chocolate Nut Bars
Getting in on the photo action.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Nut Bars
Adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life

Crust

1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
1/4 cup almond butter (or as needed to hold it all together)
pinch of salt

Nut Filling

1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup dates
1/4 cup peanuts
2 tbsp. almond flour

Chocolate Topping

5 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. cocoa powder (more accurately, you should use cacao if you want it to be a totally raw dessert, as it turns out, cocoa powder is actually roasted before it is ground…oops…but they basically taste the same so if it doesn’t concern you, don’t worry about it)
3 tbsp. maple syrup

For each layer, blend all of the required ingredients in the food processor. For the crust, add as much almond butter you need in order for everything to stick together cohesively. As for the filling, the original recipe called for cashew butter which I think may be thicker than the almond butter I used, hence the need for additional peanuts and almond flour to hold the works together. The chocolate topping is probably the easiest part. You don’t really even need to use the food processor, you can just mix all 3 ingredients by hand until they are smooth and incorporated. Once all 3 components are prepped, you can layer them into the pan/Ziploc container/serving vessel of your choice. Even muffin tins would work if you are so inclined. Crust, then nut filling, then chocolate topping. Easy as that. Freeze or refrigerate until everything is solidified, preferably overnight. Slice and serve. Sprinkle the tops with coarse see salt if you are into that type of thing (which I definitely am). Hopefully you don’t have a nut allergy 😉

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