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toasted coconut chocolate topped caramel oat bars
How to Make...

Vegan “Caramel” Mocha Coconut Oat Bars

These Vegan Caramel Mocha Coconut Oat Bars are no bake, naturally sweetened with a date caramel and make for an easy healthy dessert! Gluten-free friendly recipe using certified gluten free oats.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Scale:

Ingredients

  • 24 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked (about 2 cups packed)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, divided
  • 2 tsp espresso powder, divided (or 1 TBSP instant coffee)
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup nut/seed butter (I used cashew)
  • 4oz dairy free chocolate, chopped (about 3/4 cup chips)
  • 1/2 TBS coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Line a square 8×8 or 9×9 pan with parchment paper, or use silicone pan. Set aside.
  2. Make the date paste: In a small bowl soak dates in warm water for 5 minutes. If dates are fresh and juicy, no need to soak. If dates have been stored in fridge or feel dry, soak. Remove pits from dates and place in small blender or food processor. Add in 1 tsp espresso powder. Process dates until broken down and paste forms. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender cup or bowl, and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to get the dates moving. 2 cups packed dates should yield roughly 1 cup date paste.
  3. Add oats, 1/3 cup coconut flakes, espresso powder and chia seeds to large bowl. Stir to combine then set aside.
  4. Combine 1/2 cup of the date paste* and nut/seed butter together before combining with rest of dry ingredients. Mixture will be thick and sticky.
  5. Transfer mixture to prepared pan pressing evenly into all four corners. Spread on remaining date paste. Transfer pan to freezer.
  6. While pan is chilling, toast coconut: place remaining coconut on baking sheet and place in preheated 325ºF oven for 5 minutes – watch carefully they will burn quickly. 
  7. Make the chocolate topping: in a small microwave safe bowl, add chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) and coconut oil. Microwave in 15-20 second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate is fully melted. Be careful not to burn. You can also melt on stovetop stirring over low heat. Set aside.
  8. Remove pan from freezer and pour on chocolate topping, then sprinkle with toasted coconut.
  9. Allow pan to sit at room temperature until chocolate has set, about 45 minutes. Make sure chocolate has fully set before cutting into. You can also chill in fridge to set the chocolate for about 20 minutes. If the chocolate is too hard, you may have trouble when cutting the bars into squares. 
  10. Remove bars from pan and place on cutting board. Using large sharp knife, cut oat bars into 16 squares. Enjoy!

Recipes Notes:

*If looking to use less dates, you could likely sub honey or brown rice syrup  for the dates in the oats mixture, and use just 1/2 cup date paste to spread as the middle layer. Let me know if you try this! Bars can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days, but will keep best in fridge. Allow bars to come to room temperature to soften chocolate before biting into.

Nutrition Information:

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 248
  • Sugar: 20g
  • Sodium: 71mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg