I know what you’re thinking. “But Alyssa, you were making such delicious healthy things, what happened?!” Here’s the thing though, these have the best of both worlds. A chewy, peanut buttery, cinnamon base with absolutely no added sugar, topped with an indulgent chocolate ganache, and the toffee goodness of SKOR bits. Everything in moderation, right?
This recipe makes fabulous use of my new favourite kitchen appliance- the food processor. Seriously, over the last week this piece of equipment has changed my life. It chops things in a flash, pulverizes nuts into creamy oblivion, and generally just makes everything easier and faster.
The oatmeal base of this recipe makes use of the processor to grind and mix oats, peanut butter, dates, and agave syrup together into a soft dough. If that last ingredient is new to you, it’s one of the more popular sugar substitutes out there today, and is “a natural sweetener derived from the heart of the agave plant”. I picked up mine at a regular grocery store:
You start this recipe by throwing all the ingredients for the base into a food processor.
Pulse a couple of times, and then let the machine run until everything forms a soft dough. If you think it’s too dry add more dates, peanut butter, agave, or water, and if it’s too wet add more oats. As you’ll see in the recipe at the bottom, I had to add a bit of this and a bit of that. Just keep tasting it and you’ll end up with something that works!
Next, you want to push the dough down into an 8×8 baking pan lined with aluminum foil. Press down hard, as you want these to stay in bars when they’re cut. Then get your ganache ready and pour it over, spreading it evenly over the bars with a spoon or spatula.
Then sprinkle on your Skor bits, refrigerate for 30 minutes, cut into whatever size squares you’d like and you’re set!
This is really a perfect dessert in my mind. It tastes amazing, and you don’t feel too guilty about having another piece…at least I didn’t:) Plus, I think it would be great to try it out without the chocolate ganache on top, and then you’d have a quick and easy granola bar, or even breakfast!
Cinnamon Oatmeal Squares with Chocolate Ganache and Skor Bits (No-bake, vegan and gluten-free)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
125 grams baking dates (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup +2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (all creamy or all chunky would totally work as well)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp agave (honey, corn syrup, or maple syrup may be substituted)
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp cream or milk (I used 1% milk)
1/4 cup Skor bits
Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside. To the canister of a food processor add oats, dates, peanut butter, agave, vanilla, cinnamon, and process until dough comes together. Dough will be dense and when squeezed between fingers, it should hold its shape, not fall apart, nor be crumbly. If dough is crumbly or you cannot easily for a marble-sized ball with it, it’s too dry and needs more liquid or a binding ingredient such as more agave, peanut butter, or dates. If mixture is too wet or sloppy, add more oats. Just keep tasting and feeling until you have a product you like!
Press mixture into prepared pan, packing down, pushing it into the corners, and smooth it with a spatula; set pan aside.
For the chocolate topping: In a medium microwave safe bowl, and 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften them. In a small microwave-safe bowl, bring cream or milk to a boil, about 20-30 seconds. Pour cream over chocolate, and stir or whisk to combine and if chocolate is not smoothing easily, reheat mixture for 15 seconds until it can be stirred smooth (I had to do this). Pour chocolate over bars in an even layer and smooth out.
Evenly sprinkle Skor bits over the ganache before it begins to set up. Place pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, before slicing and serving. Bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. I kept mine in the fridge and there’s no way they lasted for 2 weeks:)
(Adapted from Averie Cooks)