Cashew Cookie Dough Bars
These no-bake cashew cookie dough bars are outrageously delicious and easy to make with just 7 simple ingredients.
- vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free
- no baking required – just blend, press and enjoy!
- wholesome but decadent enough for the the holidays and special occasions
- cashews – use plain, raw cashews with no added oil or salt
- dates – any variety works as long as they’re soft and moist, I like medjool or sayer dates best
- coconut oil – any variety works, coconut oil can’t be substituted here as it’s what makes the chocolate harden
- cocoa powder – cocoa powder or raw cacao powder are both suitable
- maple syrup – sweetens the chocolate, I don’t recommend any other sweetener here
Quick Note: If you prefer, the chocolate topping can be made with melted dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips instead of coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1. Add the dates, cashews, sea salt and vanilla to a food processor and blend into a sticky dough.
Step 2. Firmly press the dough into a 7-8 inch square baking dish.
Quick Tip: Line the baking dish with parchment paper so it sticks out over the edges of the pan. This will help you easily lift the bars out of the pan once they’re ready.
Step 3. Gently mix together the cocoa powder, maple syrup and coconut oil in a dish then pour the combined mixture over the bars.
Place the entire pan in the freezer for 2 hours to firm then slice and enjoy!
Notes and Tips
- Dates: You’ll need to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are hard and dry, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes then drain well before using. I recommend using a fresh, soft, sweet date such as medjool or sayer dates for best results.
- Slicing: Run a knife under hot water for 30 seconds before slicing the bars. This will help prevent the chocolate from cracking.
- Chocolate: If you prefer, the chocolate ganache can be made with 3/4 cup melted, chopped dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips instead of coconut oil, maple syrup and coconut oil. Follow the tips from these chocolate coconut bars if using melted chocolate.
- Substitutions: Cashews may be substituted with almonds, walnuts, pecans or a combination of any of these. If possible though, I recommend using cashews for their soft texture and mild, sweet flavour though.
- Fridge: Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
- Freezer (Recommended): Store in a sealed container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months.
- Room Temperature: The chocolate will melt after a short time a room temperature so keep cool until just before serving. If they’re frozen beforehand, they should hold up for about 30 minutes or longer if kept cool.
If you enjoy these, check these out too:
- No-Bake Cashew Tahini Bars
- Vegan Chocolate Coconut Bars
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Blondies
- Raw Hemp Seed Brownies
- No-Bake Salted Mocha Balls
Did you try this recipe?
I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a review and be sure to tag me @runningonrealfood if you post it on social media.
Cashew Cookie Dough Bars with Chocolate Ganache
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 2:15
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Amazing vegan dessert bars with a cookie dough base and rich, chocolate topping.
For the Cookie Dough Base
- 2 1/2 cups (350 g) raw cashews
- 3/4 cup tightly packed (225 g), soft pitted dates
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Chocolate Ganache Topping
- 1/2 cup (110 g) coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 cup (67 g) cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup (80 g) pure maple syrup
- Add the cookie dough ingredients to a food processor and mix until it forms a thick, sticky dough. You should easily be able to press the dough together between your fingers. If not, add 1 tsp warm water and process again. That should do the trick but if your dates were too dry, you may need to repeat with another 1-2 tsp of water.
- Line a 7-8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so the paper sticks out over the edges of the pan. This is an optional step but it will help you lift the bars out once they’re finished.
- Use your hands to firmly press the dough into the pan. Take a few minutes to really work it into the pan, especially into the corners.
- To make the chocolate ganache, gently whisk together the melted coconut, maple syrup and cocoa powder until you have smooth, uniform mixture that resembles melted chocolate.
- Pour the liquid chocolate mixture over the cookie dough base and put the entire pan in the freezer for 2 hours to firm.
- If you lined the pan with parchment, use the edges of the paper to lift the bars out of the pan. If not, you can slice them right in the pan.
- Run a sharp knife under hot water for 30 seconds then slice into 16 squares.
- Enjoy right away or follow the recommendations for storing in the notes section.
Storing: Sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months. The chocolate will melt at room temperature to keep cool until just before serving.
Dates: You’ll need to use soft, sweet dates in this recipe. If your dates are hard and dry, you can try soaking them in hot water for 15 minutes and draining before using however I recommend using a fresh, soft date such as medjool or sayer dates.
Chocolate: If you prefer, the chocolate ganache can be made with 3/4 cup melted, chopped dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips instead of coconut oil, maple syrup and coconut oil. Follow the tips from these chocolate coconut bars if using melted chocolate.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 242
- Sugar: 14 g
- Fat: 17 g
- Carbohydrates: 23 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 5 g
Keywords: cashew bars, cookie dough bars, no-bake cookie bars
Originally published on February 14, 2013. Updated October 19, 2020 with new text and photos.
This recipe was so very delicious & easy to make!
I am an aspiring chef & Vegan 14 months now. It’s always so great to find a gem of a recipe full
Of deliciousness flavor! Thanks much! Lindsey
You’re so welcome, Lindsey! So glad to hear you enjoyed them.
Do you mind explaining the difference of using this cocoa powder, coconut oil and maple syrup vs melted dairy free chocolate ? How does it affect taste? Which is healthier?
It’s totally up to you. They’re about the same health-wise, both have added sugar though you could add less sweetener to the homemade version or make it sugar-free by using a stevia or monk fruit. Using melted dairy-free chocolate is more convenient as that’s all you need and you could use a high-cacao content dark chocolate for less sugar, that would probably be the healthiest option. Taste-wise, store-bought chocolate is delicious of course, the homemade ganache has a distinct taste if you make it with unrefined coconut oil and it can vary based on the cocoa powder you use.
Hello, it looks great! Do you need to soak the cashews first? (most recipes using cashews specify to soak them so I am wondering^^) thanks!
Absolutely love these! The ganache comes together so simply, and tastes so good. I think I’ll probably have a major issue with not making it all the time and eating it on its own. How can so few ingredients induce such a big smile? 🙂
So glad you loved them, Dana!! Simple recipes like this are just the best, aren’t they? Thanks for leaving a review!
Omg these are so good. Didn’t change anything and they were easy to make and came out perfectly. Have to stop ourselves from eating them all right away!!
Haha, that’s always the toughest part! Glad you enjoyed them.
This looks absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it. 😀 I have a silly question about the ganache. I’d probably use the regular soft version for this recipe, but for other recipes, I might want to try the harder version. You said 3/4 cup each coconut oil and cocoa powder for the harder version–does that straight-up replace the maple syrup? Or would you still include the 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the flavor?
Yep, still include the maple syrup. For a hard version, you can also just use melted dark chocolate or dairy-free chocolate chips!
Made these tonight Deryn to take camping with us! So good!