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Food & Drink

Vegan Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Bars

Sweets without the sugar rush

It’s always more fun to DIY. Every week, Food52 spares you a trip to the grocery store and shows you how to make small batches of great eats at home. Today: Save money and avoid sugar crashes by making Lindsey Love from Dolly and Oatmeal’s version of Kudos bars.

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There are certain, nut bars out there that used to be my go-to snack until one day I realized that a) I was spending way too much money on them, and b) they weren’t really that great for me, health-wise. They have a boatload of sugar, a bunch of additives, and ingredients I would have to google to understand.

So a little under a year ago, I tried my hand at making my own nut bars and discovered that a homemade version is not only better for the wallet, but as a bonus, I can control what I put into them. That means less sugar, less sodium, and a lot more good, nutritious stuff.

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It took some experimenting with different nuts, dried fruits, sweeteners, and spices to get the amounts correct, but soon I had a personal stash of healthful snack bars. They are the kind of thing I make on a Sunday afternoon and snack on all week.

These bars lend themselves to different flavor combinations. Gear them toward your personal preferences by trying various nuts, spices, fruits, and grains, as well as sweet or savory varieties. I love the combination of dark chocolate, sea salt, and roasted nuts — those flavors provide me with a sweet yet wholesome snack that doesn’t leave me with a crazy sugar high.

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Vegan Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Bars
Makes sixteen bars

Ingredients
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. raw cashews
1 c. raw walnuts
⅓ c. raw buckwheat groats
⅓ c. puffed quinoa
¼ c. plus 1 tbsp. raw honey
¼ tsp. fine grain sea salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cardamom
3 tbsp. chocolate
A nub of coconut oil
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (Maldon is my favorite)

1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare a 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside for later. Make sure the parchment hangs over the sides — this will make lifting out the bars easier later on.

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2. On the baking sheet, combine the almonds, cashews, and walnuts.

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3. Toast the nuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Roughly chop the nuts in a food processor in batches, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°.

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4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped nuts, buckwheat groats, puffed quinoa, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom.

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5. Mix in the honey and stir for 1 minute; the mixture will be thick and sticky. (If your honey isn’t runny, zap it in the microwave for a couple seconds until it runs off the back of a spoon.)

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6. Transfer the mixture to the jelly roll pan. Using the back of a spatula, evenly press the nut mixture into the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Then place the whole pan in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes — this makes cutting them into bars easier.

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8. Using the parchment “wings,” lift the solid mixture from the pan and place on a flat workspace.

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9. With a sharp knife, cut the bars in half lengthwise and crosswise, then cut each section into 4 bars until you have 16 pieces.

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10. In a double boiler or a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil over simmering water; stir until melted.

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11. Remove from heat and use a fork to drizzle the runny chocolate over bars. Let the chocolate set, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

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12. Store in an airtight container for one week. If you keep your house warm, store the bars in the refrigerator.

Save and print the recipe at Food52.

more from food52!
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Oats and Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Bound together by peanut butter caramel, these bars have great texture and deep flavor. With oats, quinoa, cashews, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit, they pack a powerful punch of both protein and fiber to start your day on the right foot or fuel a workout.

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Lemon-Ricotta Bars
These aren’t your average lemon bars. The use of ricotta gives them a light and airy texture we’re crazy about, and not skimping on the lemon juice lets the bright citrus flavor shine through.

Main photos: Lindsey Love; thumbnail photos: James Ransom / Food52