Upgrade your candy stash with these almond butter chocolate bars. Free of refined sugar and unhealthy additives, these healthier Halloween treats are creamy, crunchy, salty, and sweet – not even picky trick-or-treaters will be able to resist it!
Here are some of the benefits:
Almond butter is an excellent source of Vitamin E, which supports skin, eye, cardiac, and immune system health. Additionally, as a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fat, almonds help keep you satiated, and research suggests may even aid in weight loss.
Dates: Full of minerals and fiber, dates support the digestive system. They are excellent choice to sweeten desserts over refined sugar, as they are unrefined and have a lower glycemic load.
Bananas contain fiber, Vitamin B6, and potassium. They support kidney, bone, and cardiovascular health.
Here’s the recipe:
Almond Butter Candy Bars
ALMOND COOKIE CRUST
50 g (1.8 oz) dates, pit removed
75 g (2.6 oz) almonds
CREAMY BANANA FILLING
3 large, ripe bananas*
ALMOND BUTTER CENTER
4 tsp. almond butter
2-3 Tbsp. almonds, chopped or sliced
100 g (3.5 oz) dates, pitted (slightly less than ¾ cup), soaked in hot water 10-15 minutes
½ tsp. vanilla extract
DARK CHOCOLATE COATING
100 g (3.5 oz) dark chocolate
First, make the crust: Add dates and almonds to blender (bullet blender works well) and blend until dough like consistency forms, 30-60 seconds.
Line a baking or cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Put the cookie dough on it, place another sheet of wax or parchment paper on top it, and press it down, then roll it out into an even, rectangular shape, about ¼ inch thick. Remove the top sheet and discard. (The sheet on top prevents sticky fingers or a rolling pin.)
Slice the “dough” lengthwise into strips, about 1 inch wide. Then slice those strips crosswise, about 1 ½ inches wide. This should create approximately sixteen 1 ½ in x 1 in rectangles that will be the base of the bar.
Next, add the banana: Peel the bananas and slice them the long way, about ¼ inch thick. Place them on top of the cookie crust rectangles, and slice the bananas to fit on top. (You will have some odds and end pieces of banana left – which you can eat!)
Then, add a dollop of almond butter to each (appx. ¼ tsp. each), and use a knife to spread it out evenly over the banana. Sprinkle a few chopped almonds on top of it to completely cover the nut/seed butter.
Next, make the date caramel. To a bullet blender, add 2 teaspoons of the date soaking water plus the dates (you can drain the rest of the water) and vanilla. Blend until a paste forms.
Carefully spoon the date caramel on top of the almonds to cover them as completely as possible. (This is sticky so use two spoons instead of fingers).
Put the baking sheet in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Once the entire cookie center has hardened, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, and carefully dip each into the chocolate and coat completely. Tap off excess, and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining slices.
If you like, spoon the remaining melted chocolate into a small Ziploc bag cut off the tip, and make a zig zag pattern over the chocolate bars. You can also sprinkle with additional chopped almonds.
Return to the freezer to harden, at least 10 minutes.
Before serving, allow to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature for best texture and flavor.
Author: Maria Marlowe is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who has helped thousands of people improve their health by optimizing their diet. She has created meal plans and programs to help you lose weight, clear up acne, and spend less time in the kitchen yet still eat healthy.
She has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, NBC, Well + Good, and more. Her first book, The Real Food Grocery Guide, will teach you how to eat healthy without going broke.