Ding ding! Round three! The Virtual Vegan Potluck is such a wonderful highlight in my blogging world. It’s amazing that so many bloggers get together and make this whole thing happen! There’s 169 bloggers from around the world this time. Of course, there’s a few superheroes at the helm that keep us all in check: Annie at An Unrefined Vegan; Somer at Vedged Out; and Jason at Jason and the Veganauts. Hurrah and huzzah to these lovely folks! It must be like dealing with a huge class of kindergarteners.
And this time I’m doing a dessert—homemade Schnickers Bars—after two rounds of main courses. If you want to check those out, they are here and here. I’m happy to say that you can make this a raw vegan dish, but I used roasted salted peanuts and roasted peanut butter, so it’s not technically raw. You could make this paleo by subbing the peanuts for almonds, but I didn’t have time to do that. But at the rate these treats are going to get eaten, I’ll have a chance to try that out very soon.
When I found this recipe I was so excited! I have changed it, and frankly, the original left a lot to be desired. Not so much on the concept—which of course is awesome!—but on the execution. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a chocolatier, and need a little more explanation than “Coat the sides of your container with chocolate.” How? How do you get it to stick to the sides of a silicone container? And also, they said to make the chocolate first, and didn’t tell me why. Now I know it’s because it needs to cool down a bit so that it gets less runny. So please, make the chocolate mixture first.
Another thing that bugged me: “Add the caramel”. Okay, sure. HOW do you add a bunch of sticky stuff to a pile of chocolate and peanuts? Help me out here! I muddled my way through it, but seriously, they could have given the reader a little more to go on.
But when you know you’re going to basically have a version of a Snickers bar without all the crappy soy-lecithin laden chocolate, corn-syrup caramel and a dozen other ingredients I can’t pronounce, you persevere. And it was worth it. It was so very worth it!
I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. The Husband asked for seconds, and would have gone for thirds but I think he was a bit embarrassed to ask. To be honest, I work from home and they’ve been calling to me from the freezer all day. I’ve resisted so far, but I know that at least one more will disappear tonight…
Note: I used both a big silicone ice-cube tray and a regular standard ice cube tray for these. The silicone made it marginally easier to get out, but I like the miniature size of the regular ice-cube tray variety. Up to you! I’m sure there’s candy bar-sized silicone trays out there to make full-sized bars with. Have fun!
+++NOTE: I remade these recently (September 2013) with almonds instead, so I’ve changed the recipe. You can use peanuts if you want, like the photo, but man, the almonds are SO much better! And totally Paleo!
Homemade “Schnickers” Bars
- 3/4 Cup virgin coconut oil, warmed until just liquid
- 3/4 Cup cacao powder
- 1/4 Cup natural maple syrup (I used grade A)
- 1 Cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar
- 2 Tbsp creamy salted almond butter
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp virgin coconut oil (Doesn’t have to be melted)
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Cup roasted and salted almonds*
Place chocolate ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a pitcher to make it easy to pour the chocolate with control later. Set this aside in a cool place.
Blend all caramel ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You’ll need to scrape the sides down once or twice. Place the caramel into a pastry/frosting bag or into a plastic bag. You can cut the corner off to use as a pastry bag.
Coat your silicone molds or ice-cube trays’ bottom and sides with a fairly thick layer of chocolate. How? Well, make sure the chocolate is at a temperature where it’s fairly thick. Pour an equal amount in each of the molds and gently tilt the mold to coat the sides. I would suggest doing this little by little, adding more chocolate in stages to coat them well. Once you’ve got a good, thick coating, place it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Cover the bottom of each chocolate with almonds. Using your pastry bag, add a good dose of caramel, and use the tip of a butter knife to smooth out.
Pour the remaining chocolate on top of the caramel, coating well. This “top” of your chocolate will actually be the bottom when you pop them out! Gently place in the freezer on a level plane for one hour. During this hour you may need to leave the house to refrain from eating them. I must admit using the peanuts to dip into the leftover caramel while I waited for them to be ready.
If you used regular ice-cube trays, run a little hot water over the bottom of the trays to loosen them from the sides, then pop out over a rimmed cookie sheet or tray to keep them from scooting off the counter and on to the floor. I ate the one that fell anyway, but this way you can learn from my trials and not have to wipe off the cat/dog fur before eating any of these little darlings.
If any survive the first outing, keep them in a tightly sealed container in the freezer until serving. By the way, I didn’t do half of the things I’ve said to do here, and mine still turned out very tasty.
* Roasted and salted almonds:
Take 1 cup of raw whole almonds (get the ones that are labeled “Italian” or “European”, as they will be truly raw and unpasteurized) and chop them up roughly. I love roughing up my ingredients. It makes me feel big and mean.
Toast them in the oven or on the stovetop in a frying pan. Stir often if you’re using a pan. Once they’re pretty toasty all over, add about a tablespoon of almond oil and coat well. Carefully pour out the almonds onto a plate covered in paper towel and blot most of the excess oil off. Salt them with sea salt generously. Set aside to cool before using in the recipe.
Now, if you’ve just jumped to my blog from my Facebook post or whatnot, please go back and visit Ode to a Mung Bean’s post by clicking on the link below. They’re from the UK, my old stomping grounds! So really, their dessert will be called a pudding. And they do awesome puddings over there!
Keep on the VVP train! Go to the next in the Potluck at Happy to be Just a Table of Two for more delicious vegan dessert yumminess: