3-layer peanut butter, coconut & chocolate bars

From the moment I first saw these bars on Oh She Glows, I’ve been planning to make them.  The long ingredient list, all the steps, and the cooling period intimidated me, though.  But today, the midpoint of my two-week break from work, seemed as good a day as any.  Turns out, it’s a pretty simple recipe, and the bars are just a perfect little dessert– sweet (but not overly), creamy, crunchy, chocolatey, coconutty and peanut buttery.

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Aside from the small mess I made in the kitchen, these bars are a hit and I will be making them again, but experimenting with different nuts, nut butters and maybe even white chocolate.  A nice perk of all the bowls and utensils required is that you get to lick everything along the way.  So, put on your prettiest apron, and get to it.  Your efforts will be worth it.  I promise.

 3 layer bars

Materials (makes about 24 semi-bite sized squares, slightly adapted from Oh She Glows)

For the base layer
1/2 cup oat flour (I made some by running a cup of oats in a food processor for a few seconds)
3/4 cup dry-roasted almonds
1 cup old-fashioned dry oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (I used homemade vanilla bean syrup)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

For the middle layer
1 cup peanut butter (I used natural, crunchy)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, or paste
pinch of sea salt
1 cup rice crisp cereal

 

For the top layer
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup shredded (or dessicated) unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut, or coconut  flakes

 

A few (maybe obvious) notes before you begin:
1. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so melt before using.
2. The almonds in the base can be raw, roasted, whole or chopped.
3. Toast coconut by baking in a 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Protocol
Before you begin, pre-heat oven to 350, and prepare an 8×8 inch pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going in each direction.  Set aside.

The base
1. If you need to make oat flour, place oats in a food processor, and pulse until a semi-fine flour forms.  Add the almonds and pulse until a fine meal forms.  Then, add the remaining ingredients, and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until combined and sticky.
2. Press mixture into prepared pan, and even out.
3. Bake for about 13 minutes, turning midway if necessary to bake evenly.  The edges will be slightly crunchy; the center, softer.  Cool on a rack for 10 or 15 minutes, while you make the middle layer.

 

The middle
1. Place peanut butter, coconut oil, syrup, vanilla, and salt into a small saucepan, and heat on medium heat until combined.  Add cereal, and stir.
2. Pour onto cooled base layer, spread evenly and place in fridge or freezer for 30-45 minutes.
3. Remove from freezer, and cut any way you please, depending on whether you want rectangular bars, or smaller squares.

 

The top
1. Heat chocolate chips, and coconut oil in a small saucepan on medium until most of the chocolate chips have melted.  Remove from heat and stir until chocolate has melted.
2. Add shredded coconut, and stir.
3. Spread over cut bars, and top immediately with toasted coconut (so it sticks to the chocolate).

Bars can be stored in the fridge, or at room temperature if your house is relatively cool.

3-layer bars

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