These chocolate coconut oat bars are my idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day treat. Trust me, your weekend needs these bars, Valentine’s Day or not.
Speaking of the weekend, I am so happy it’s Friday! It’s been a long week and I’m excited to finally get some time in the kitchen. Our last weekend was spent in Moncton as we were dog-sitting for my parents who were off to Montreal. My brother was competing in a track and field event, so all of my family was gone. For that reason, Shaun and I had the house to ourselves with Lola (our family dog). It felt so good to be back to our hometown for the weekend. We went to the Farmers’ Market, I went on a few walks with Lola and I visited one of my friends’ new place. We also celebrated the fact that I passed my dietetic exam by eating at our favorite fancy Italian restaurant and drank some wine with friends in my parents’ hot tub. I felt a little spoiled.
And yes, in case you missed that in my January favorites post, I passed my dietetic exam and I am now a registered dietitian! It’s SUCH a relief to be done with it. No more stress (I wish). I may be a little crazy, but I’m now starting to study to become a certified diabetes educator (CDE). The exam is in May, so clearly I never give myself a break.
On top of that, I have so many blog/business goals this year and my full time job takes up most of my time. As if that weren’t enough, I also have my wedding to plan for September 2019… I think it’s safe to say that I’m pretty busy. But that’s okay, I like keeping myself busy and working towards my goals.
Now that you know a little more about what’s currently going on in my busy life, let’s talk about today’s recipe.
This recipe came to mind just in time for Valentine’s Day – although this could honestly be an everyday recipe. Chocolate just seems to be a popular Valentine’s Day ingredient, so I thought this recipe would be fitting for the occasion. You really don’t need an excuse to eat these bars though. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make them every week. That’s basically what I’ve been doing lately, but of course I was testing the recipe to share with you guys. I’m not complaining. I’ll never get tired of oat bars.
These oat bars remind me a little of my seriously addictive no-bake granola bars, but without as many seeds. They also remind me a little of my crumble bars. I basically took my favorite parts of each bar and made this perfect dessert as a result.
Just like all of my favorite desserts, these bars are sweetened with dates. They’re also packed with coconut, sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter and vanilla. I used sunflower seed and sunflower seed butter as they are cheaper than nuts and it makes them allergy-friendly, but feel free to use your favorite nut or nut butter instead. I tried them with cashews once, but I haven’t tried other versions yet. Just use what you have on hand!
I then topped the bars with a thin layer of unsweetened chocolate. Again, use what you prefer. Unsweetened chocolate can be quite bitter in large quantity, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re used to sweeter chocolate or desserts. I would recommend a dark chocolate for most. I’m just at the point where I actually enjoy the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate, but I know that’s not the norm. And even then, a thick layer can overpower the sweetness of the oat bars. So bottom line is, stick to a thin layer of unsweetened chocolate OR choose a dark chocolate instead. Sprinkle with coconut flakes when the chocolate is still melted so that it sticks to it. You can also add some chopped Goji berries if desired for a pop of red. It makes it a little more special for Valentine’s Day, but it’s totally optional.
They’re perfectly healthy, yet indulgent. Not to mention that they’re gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and nut-free! You could always bring them for a healthy Super Bowl treat… I know it’s not a typical Super Bowl treat, but sorry, I didn’t prepare for the occasion early enough to come up with a recipe… It doesn’t help that I don’t watch football, but for all of you who do, I hope you have a good Super Bowl weekend!
These oat bars are the perfect treat for any occasion. Like Friday for example. Or Valentine's Day. Add a layer of chocolate on top with a sprinkle of coconut and goji berries to take them to the next level. They are also delicious without any toppings and served as granola bars for a healthy snack. Not only are they healthy and delicious, but these bars are also vegan, gluten-free and nut-free!
Add dates to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop, without forming a ball.
Add oats, sunflower seeds, vanilla, salt, water and sunflower seed butter. Process until the ingredients are well mixed and stick together when pressed. Transfer to a 9"x9" dish and press to the bottom (making sure it's compact so that the bars don't crumble).
Melt the chocolate. I simply add it to a bowl and melt it in a microwave for approximately 2 minutes, but a sauce pan works as well. You can add a teaspoon of coconut oil if desired to help melt.
Pour the chocolate over the oat bars. Spread evenly. Top with coconut flakes and goji berries immediately before the chocolate hardens to make sure it sticks.
Put the bars in the fridge or freezer for the chocolate to harden before cutting. Cut into 12 bars and enjoy!
I also tried these bars with melted margarine instead of sunflower seed butter and they were great as well! It added a good buttery taste. Choose whichever ingredient you prefer.
Seal with a plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store in the fridge or freezer.
If you try this recipe, make sure to tag your photo #unsweetenedcaroline on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Don’t forget to also tag me @unsweetened.caroline on Instagram so I can see your creations!