Food

No-bake chocolate peanut butter squares by Suzanne

chocolate peanut butter squares, vegan

The other day I was thinking about how nice it is to have a repertoire of dessert recipes that don’t require you to turn on the oven in the summer.

This made me think about my mother.

She was a beautiful baker and she baked often, in cool weather and in warm. At some point, she put a second oven in an unfinished room in the basement of our family home. This allowed her to bake molasses cookies or cinnamon rolls or blueberry pies on a hot day and for the house to remain cool.

She would appreciate this no-bake recipe for chocolate peanut butter squares. They’re easy to make (no more than 15 minutes prep time) and are the perfect package to deliver you the winning combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

They’re nourishing, too. Especially if you are selective with the quality of your ingredients.

chocolate peanut butter squares, vegan

The base is made in the food processor with oats, dates, peanut butter and salt. I use the lovely and soft medjool dates, and a peanut butter with nothing else added. I use large rolled oats but quick oats do the trick just as well.

The top layer is made of gently melted chocolate - semi sweet, bitter sweet, milk or dark chocolate high in cocoa and low in sugar - and peanut butter. You can also use chocolate chips.

I’ve even included a method for making your own chocolate using cocoa powder, maple syrup and cocoa butter. It’s divine! Maybe cocoa butter is available in a shop near you.

chocolate peanut butter squares, vegan
chocolate peanut butter squares, vegan

No-bake chocolate peanut butter squares

Adapted from and inspired by this recipe.

Base:

2 1/3 cup old fashioned or quick oats

1 cup pitted dates, packed

1 cup peanut butter

1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Line a 8 x 8 pan with enough parchment so you can easily lift the squares out of the pan when it’s time to slice them.

Place oats and salt into the food processor. Blend while adding the dates, a couple at a time until processed well. Mixture will still be dry.

Add peanut butter and vanilla. Continue to process for one to two minutes or until you achieve a big sticky mixture.

Warm your hands and press the mixture into a 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper .

Place in fridge or freezer while you prepare the top layer.

Top Layer (two options):

1 cup finely chopped cocoa butter

3 to 5 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

pinch of sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Chop the cocoa butter. Place in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Add cocoa powder, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir occasionally.

When mixture is half way melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until everything is melted and well blended.

OR

1 cup finely chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

pinch of sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Chop chocolate. Place in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir occasionally.

When mixture is half way melted, remove from heat and continue to stir until everything is melted and well blended.

Remove base from fridge. Pour on the melted chocolate and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or by tilting the pan from side to side to side to evenly distribute the chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Return to the fridge and let sit until solidified but not so hard you can’t easily slice. When it’s time to cut, lift the squares from the pan and slice into bite-sized or large squares by pressing a warmed blade of a large knife down firmly and then dragging it back in a single motion.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge. I don’t know how long they will last because we eat them in a week or less. I imagine they will keep at least two weeks or even longer in the freezer.

chocolate peanut butter squares, vegan