Ever since a certain nut and fruit bar company was bought out by a mega-corporation, and their bars subsequently shrunk up a bit in size, I’ve been experimenting at home with my own tasty blends. So far, my two favorites are my Pecan Pie Bars (amazing! – and in my ebook Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free) and these Mega Chocolate Fudge Bars.
I mean, up to three types of chocolate in one snack recipe, what’s not to love? To further up the ante, these fudge bars are made with nutritious dates, nuts, and don’t contain a drop of dairy or an ounce of gluten. The nuts add a little protein while the fruit and chocolate provide some all-natural, quick and tasty energy. As an added bonus, these healthy snack bars are safe for those schools with peanut-free policies.
Special Diet Notes & Options: Healthy Chocolate Fudge Bars
These fudge bars are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Just use caution when selecting chocolate chips (or opt for cacao nibs), as some brands do contain dairy. Also, if you are highly sensitive / allergic to dairy, seek out chocolate chips that are made allergy-safe, such as Enjoy Life or Dream brand.
Mix-it-Up: This recipe can easily be customized to your tastes. If cashews aren’t your game, use 5 ounces of your favorite nut and omit the coconut oil (most nuts have more fat than cashews). You can also swap the cocoa powder for carob powder or even a dairy-free milk powder or protein powder. Also, note that the cacao nibs add a nice crunch to the bars, but chocolate chips alone will certainly be delicious, too.
- 1 cup (140 grams) cashews
- 16 dates (approximately 320 grams)*
- 1 tablespoon melted, warm coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder, or more to taste
- 1/16 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Up to ½ cup dairy-free dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (minis if you’ve got them), cacao nibs, or a combination of the two (for a triple chocolate effect)
- Grind the cashews in your spice grinder or food processor. They will turn into a flour; if a few little chunks remain, not a problem - it will add some texture.
- Place the dates in a bowl or in your food processor with the oil and vanilla. Mash with a fork, or combine with a food processor.
- Add the ground cashews, cocoa powder, and salt, and mash or blend until everything is well-combined.
- Stir / press in the chips and/or nibs.
- Shape the mixture into balls or press it out onto a cutting board lined with parchment paper and gently cut into bars (big or small).
- Store the bars or balls in the refrigerator for one week (they will keep for the day in a lunch box), or the freezer for up to a few months.