Nutty Layered Caramel Bars

Do you know the hardest part about creating a recipe?  Naming it.  For me, coming up with a recipe is pretty easy; I throw together ingredients I like and create a tasty treat or meal and if it’s up to standards, then I put it on my blog.  But coming up with a title for my meal or a catchy name for a treat is something I really struggle with!  I create this beautiful, decadent, satisfying work of art and have to come up with a name that gives it justice – a title that gives it meaning, describes its taste/texture/smell and that captivates readers.

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There are a lot of things I could have called these Nutty Layered Caramel Bars.  I thought about 3 layer bars, but that tells you nothing except the fact that they are layered.  And does the chocolate drizzle count as a layer?  Or what about Maple-Date bars or Maple Nut bars?  But maple isn’t the emphasis of this recipe.  There are quite a few dates.  But I used the dates in a way to make caramel for the top layer.  And then what about the nuts? Almonds and pecans were used in this recipe.  If I wanted to be super specific, I suppose I could have called these bars Layered Almond-Pecan-Maple-Date Bars with a Chocolate Drizzle.  But, yah…that’s too much of a mouthful.

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See the struggle I faced?!  Every now and then I will get an easy recipe with one main ingredient that is simple to name.  Other times I’m faced with this dilemma.

Anyway, enough with this naming business, more about these Nutty Layered Caramel Bars!  These bars are no-bake, gluten-free, vegan and delicious (of course).  They have 3 layers and a chocolate drizzle, which is optional but recommended.  And without further ado, here is the recipe:

Nutty Layered Caramel Bars

Ingredients

Bottom Layer

  • 25 pitted dates (175 g)
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds (75 g)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Middle Layer

  • 1 cup pecan pieces (100 g)
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats (75 g)
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

Top Layer

  • 25 pitted dates (175 g) soaked in 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Drizzle (optional)

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. In food processor, blend dates and almonds until mixture becomes crumbly but can be pressed together (about 3-4 minutes of blending).
  2. Add cocoa to mixture and blend for a few seconds.
  3. Remove dough from food processor and evenly press into a lined 8″ square pan (I lined mine with aluminum foil) to create the bottom layer.
  4. For the middle layer, add all (middle layer) ingredients to your food processor and blend until mixture starts to clump together.
  5. Remove middle layer dough from food processor and press down on top of bottom layer.
  6. For the top layer, soak dates in hot (does not need to be boiling) water for approximately 30 minutes.
  7. Add soaked dates (and water), coconut oil, vanilla extract and salt to food processor and blend well, scraping the sides every few seconds.*
  8. Remove top layer from food processor and spread out evenly over the middle layer.
  9. Place 8″ square pan in fridge and let set for at least an hour before adding the chocolate drizzle.
  10. For the chocolate drizzle, add coconut oil and chocolate chips (or any chocolate) to a pan and melt on the stove top on low heat.  Stir constantly until chocolate is melted.
  11. Remove from heat and drizzle over the refrigerated Nutty Layered Caramel Bars.**
  12. Store bars in fridge or freezer.

*Be careful when processing, as liquid may escape from any cracks in the food processor (happened to me and made a mess!)  I had to press down the lid of my food processor to ensure a tight seal.

**I recommend cutting your bars before adding the chocolate drizzle.  Also, there will most likely be leftover chocolate, which you can set aside and harden in the fridge for an extra treat 🙂

Pre-chocolate drizzle

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Post chocolate drizzle

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