No-Bake Chocolate Caramel Bars
These triple layer, no-bake chocolate caramel bars are easy to make and taste incredible. All you need to make them is walnuts, dates, almond butter and chocolate chips. Yep, just 4 ingredients! This recipe is vegan, gluten-free and oil-free.
These bars are little bit caramel slice, a little bit Twix, a little bit chocolate candy bar and 100% yum! Bonus: you only need 4 simple ingredients to make them: dates, walnuts, chocolate and almond butter!
The bars feature 3 delicious layers: a date and walnut base, caramel centre and chocolate topping. Don’t worry though, each layer is super simple to prepare!
- Dates. Soft and moist dates are needed for the bottom later but the dates for the middle layer will be soaked first so you can use pretty much any kind. I like medjool, deglect noor and sayer dates the best for recipes like this
- Walnuts. Look for raw walnut with no other ingredients. I buy walnut pieces so there’s no chopping needed but you can also use whole walnuts.
- Nut butter. You can use almond butter, peanut butter or even tahini for the date caramel layer. Look for a natural nut butter with 1 or 2 ingredients for example, almonds or almonds and sea salt.
- Chocolate. You can use dairy-free chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate for the chocolate layer. I like Enjoy Life or Camino chocolate chips.
Before you start: Soak the dates for the middle layer in a bowl of hot water for 20 minutes.
Step 1. Make the Date Walnut Crust
To make the bottom layer, add the dates and walnuts to a food processor and mix into a crumbly dough. Press the dough firmly into a parchment paper-lined loaf pan. Take a few moments to really press it in firmly, making sure you work it into each corner.
Step 2. Make the Date Caramel Centre
Next, the date caramel…YUM! Before you start this layer, give the food processor a quick wipe to remove any leftover bits of walnuts.
Add the soaked and drained dates (it’s okay if they’re a little wet), almond butter and sea salt and process to combine until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture evenly over the walnut date layer.
Step 3. Make the Chocolate Topping
Finally, the chocolate topping! Melt chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate in a microwave or stovetop using a double boiler. Spread the melted chocolate into the loaf pan.
Optional: Add 2 tsp of oil or butter to the melted chocolate to help prevent cracking when you slice the bars. See notes in recipe card for more details.
I recommend sprinkling the chocolate with some Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel. This really brings out the flavour of the date caramel and chocolate. Pop the whole pan in the freezer to set the chocolate.
Quick tip: After you’ve added the chocolate to the pan, shake it back and forth and drop on the counter from an inch or two to help evenly distribute and flatten the chocolate.
Step 3. Slice and enjoy!
Once the chocolate has hardened, they’re almost ready to enjoy! Follow the steps below to prevent the chocolate from cracking when you slice the bars.
How to Prevent Chocolate from Cracking
- After pulling from the freezer, let the bars sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to soften a little.
- Run a sharp knife under hot water for 20 seconds then wipe off excess water.
- Score the bars by lightly running the knife over the bars where you want to cut them. Go back over the score lines a few times until you’ve almost cut right through the chocolate layer.
- Re-heat the knife, dry and then follow the score lines to gently slice into 8 large bars or 16 small slices. I recommend making 16 small bars.
More Vegan Dessert Recipes
- No-Bake Tahini Cashew Bars
- Vegan Nanaimo Bars
- Vegan Chocolate Coconut Bars
- No-Bake Chocolate Caramel Tarts
- Vegan Pecan Pie Bars – some baking involved but so yummy!
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These triple layered bars are almost too easy to make! With minimal effort and ingredients, enjoy sweet and salted date caramel layered between a date walnut crust and chocolate topping.
For the Bottom Layer
- 3/4 cup (90 g) chopped walnuts or walnut pieces
- 3/4 cup (180 g) packed, soft and moist pitted dates
For the Middle Layer
For the Chocolate Layer
- Place the dates for the middle layer in a bowl and cover with hot water.
- Line a standard-sized loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Add the walnuts and dates to a food processor and mix for 30-60 seconds until it forms a crumbly dough. Firmly press the dough into the lined loaf pan.
- After 20 minutes, drain the soaked dates and add them to the food processor with the almond butter and sea salt. Process into a thick dough then evenly spread it over the bottom layer in the loaf pan.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15-20 seconds increments or using a double boiler. Stir until completely smooth. Using a spatula, evenly spread the melted chocolate over the other two layers in the loaf pan. Shake it back and forth to help distribute and flatten the chocolate, you can also drop it on the counter top from an inch or two to help spread it around. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt, if desired.
- Place the loaf pan in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened.
- Once the chocolate is hard, pull the bars from the freezer and let them set sit a room temperature for 10 minutes. Lift out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Run a sharp knife under hot water for 20 seconds, then wipe excess water off and use it to score the chocolate, running the knife over the score lines a few times until you’ve almost cut right through the chocolate layer. This will help prevent it from cracking when you slice it. Heat the knife under hot water again, dry and then follow the score lines to gently slice the bar into 16 small bars (you can do 8 large ones if you want).
- Store the bars in the freezer for up to 2 months.
See tips in post to prevent chocolate from cracking when you slice the bars. You do have the option to add a little butter or oil to the chocolate to prevent cracking. I don’t add any to mine though. As long as you let the bars sit at room temperature so the chocolate can soften after freezing and you score the chocolate first with a hot knife, it shouldn’t crack when you slice the bars.
Keywords: treat, salted, raw, candy