Most of the time, I like to make simple, easy recipes that are delicious and healthy. I mean, as a mom of three young boys, I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to play around with complicated recipes, and my whole philosophy is that eating well should be approachable and easy- definitely NOT complicated! But sometimes it’s fun to bake something a little more complex. I like having a few hours in the kitchen to create something really interesting and exciting, and this recipe is definitely for one of those times! Before you get too worried about the complexity level of these hazelnut bars, let me assure you that they’re actually pretty simple! They take a bit of time to make, but most of that time is spent freezing the various layers, and you can do it in steps over the course of a day or two if need be. These bars are the perfect treat for an afternoon picnic, a big group gathering, or just a yummy snack to get you through the week. The best part is that they’re full of really healthy ingredients, so you’ll feel good about eating them!
My base layer is made up of quinoa flakes, almonds, dates and agave. Quinoa flakes are such a great gluten free, protein rich product! They’re literally just pressed quinoa, and they end up looking a lot like rolled oats. They can be used in much the same way as rolled oats as well- sometimes I eat them with fruit and maple syrup in the morning, for a high protein start to my day. In this recipe, the quinoa flakes work well to stabilize the base, giving the bars a great texture and bite! The almonds also contribute to the bars’ texture, while providing a healthy dose of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamin E, and calcium. To sweeten my base, I used dates and agave syrup, although you can swap out the agave for your favourite sweet syrup (brown rice syrup or maple are both great choices with their own benefits as well!).
The middle layer is made up of nothing but cashew- I adore the creamy texture of pureed cashews, and in this case they give these bars an elevated level of decadence. They also contribute greatly to the moisture of the end product. Best of all, cashews are full of vitamins E, B6 and K! They’re fantastic for your heart and eyes, and really, really yummy!
The top layer is a fluffy mixture of coconut milk, butter and flakes, almond flour and raw cacao. It has a cloud-like texture and really makes the whole thing taste like something grandma would have baked! Coconuts are full of magnesium, vitamin E, calcium and potassium. They are great for your skin, and help your complexion look its best!
As I mentioned earlier, these bars are mainly only time consuming because of the amount of time it takes to freeze each layer individually. If you’re worried about timing, just start a couple of days ahead with the first layer (which can be kept wrapped and frozen for up to 4 days) and build your bars gradually. These bars will last in the freezer for about a week, making them a great make-ahead item if you need to contribute to a bake sale or a potluck. Best of all, they taste so good, even sugar addicts will love them! Until next time, eat well to live well!
- 1 cup Quinoa flakes
- 1 cup Almonds, soaked overnight
- 5 Dates
- 2 tbsp Agave Syrup
- 250 g Cashew, soaked overnight
- 100 g coconut butter
- 50 ml coconut milk
- 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp Almond flour
- 1 tsp raw cacao
- whole hazelnut nuts
Make the base- In a food processor, pulse together the quinoa, almonds, and dates until combined.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in agave syrup. Press the mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish, and freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Next, make the middle layer- Puree the cashews with a small amount of their soaking liquid until creamy and smooth. Pour over the base layer and freeze for another 30 minutes.
4. Finally, make the top layer- melt the coconut butter over low heat on the stove. Once it has melted, transfer to a bowl and stir in the raw cacao, dessicated coconut and almond flour. Layer that mixture on top of the cashew layer of your bars. Top the entire thing with hazelnuts, and freeze for another 1-2 hours.
5. To serve, allow to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes or so before cutting.