I don’t normally name recipes after myself, but this time around I couldn’t help myself. i found the recipe for these Nirvana Bars in a People Magazine while I was getting my roots touched up (I’ve been cursed with premature greys since the tender age of 17). They seemed easy to make and combined the holy trifecta of chocolate, nuts, and coconut. Veganizing and healthizing(?) these babies would be a breeze. Turns out, I was right! They are sweet, but not too sweet, salty, made with whole foods instead of store-bought cookies, dairy-free, gluten free and hold together nicely – Bridget for the win!
6 tablespoons melted Earth Balance or Coconut Oil
1 cup finely ground almonds
1 cup finely ground oats
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp warm water, let sit for 10 min)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (omit if using earth balance)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (if you can get your hands on vegan white chocolate chips sub out 3/4 cup with those – yum!)
1 cup unsweetened coconut, small flakes
7 oz full fat coconut milk (one of those mini cans or just use half of a regular sized can)
2-3 tbsp maple syrup (divided)
Preheat your oven to 350F and place the rack in the centre. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
In a food processor, finely grind your nuts. Then add the oats, salt (if using), flax egg, one tbsp of maple syrup, and melted butter or oil. Pulse to combine and scoop out into your pan. Press the mixture firmly down into the pan, spreading it smooth with a spatula and getting into every corner.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts over next, so they are evenly distributed. Then sprinkle with chocolate chips, then coconut flakes, making it look pretty and giving the pan a light jiggle back and forth a few times to help everything settle.
Shake the can of coconut milk and pour into a measuring cup, adding 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup depending on how sweet you want it. Whisk this mixture together until smooth and creamy and drizzle over the ingredients in the pan making sure everything is evenly coated.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then cut into bar size of your choosing (I like them smaller). Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
– The Vegan Project –