My husband, David, doesn’t usually like sweets, and it doesn’t help that most sweets contain his two culinary nemeses: dairy and gluten. However, sometimes he does crave something sweet.
I was on Pinterest one day and came across this amazing looking nut bar with dark chocolate drizzled all over it and I thought that David would flip over these.
My only thought about these other than “YUM!” was “nuts are expensive.” It’s true. This little snack was quite the expense, but to me it was worth it. The bags of nuts I purchased were large enough to make multiple batches of these amazing bars, or to use in other recipes. Plus, it gave David something delicious and healthy to eat at work for his mid-afternoon pick-me-up that we all seem to feel around 3:00.
I really love these bars because they’re sweet from the sugar and agave nectar, they have that warming hint of cinnamon and vanilla, and they’ve got chocolate! David has a dairy sensitivity, so I made sure to get a particularly high percent of dark chocolate (the higher the percent on the packaging, the less milk is added to the chocolate). So because of these bars, David was able to consume chocolate for the first time in years.
Nut Bars with Dark Chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups whole raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds
- 1 cup chopped raw pecans
- 1 cup chopped raw walnuts
- 1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces organic 80% dark chocolate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and line a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pepitas.
Pour the sugar, agave nectar, vanilla extract, sea salt, and cinnamon in a large sauce pot. Bring to a simmer and stir to dissolve the sugar. The moment the sugar is completely melted, and the edges are bubbling, turn off the heat and pour in the nuts. Quickly mix the nuts into the syrup with a wooden spoon, until they are completely coated. Pour the nut mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a piece of wax paper to press the mixture firmly together.
Bake the nut bars on the center rack for approximately 20 minutes until the tops are golden. Then allow the nut bars to cool for at least 45 minutes in the pan.
Lift the whole pan of nut bars out of the pan, by the edges of the parchment paper. Cut into bars and spread the bars apart.
Break one 4 ounce bar of dark chocolate into pieces and place over a double-boiler to melt. Once melted, pour the chocolate into a plastic bag. Snip off a tiny portion of the corner, and pipe the chocolate over the bars. Allow the chocolate to dry before wrapping. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1 week, or in the fridge for up to a month. Pinterest Link to these Nut Bars
*My advice on this recipe is to use a clear glass bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water if you don’t have a double boiler when melting the chocolate. Also, don’t bother buying a piping bag for the drizzling of the dark chocolate. Instead, use a zip top bag. Place the bag in a tall up, with one of the bottom corners at the bottom (see where I’m going with this?). Then fill the bag with the chocolate, and seal the bag. The cup is there simply to stabilize the makeshift piping bag. When you’re ready, snip the corner off of the zip top bag and gently squeeze the chocolate out, just as you would with a piping bag.
David, of course, loved these! His coworkers are envious every time he shows up to work with one of these bars. This is a wonderful and healthy gluten-free (GF) snack!