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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bars

August 9, 2012

When I found this recipe, I was intrigued, but didn’t have high expectations. The ingredient list is simple, but curious. Does the base layer, which is full of walnuts and dates, actually taste like a brownie? Will the raw oats in the peanut butter layer be edible? Can chocolate ganache be made with coconut oil? All these things popped into my head as I followed the recipe, which by the way requires no cooking whatsoever. All the ingredients go in raw and stay raw.

My doubts went away after I took my first bite. They are unbelievably good. There is chocolate and there is peanut butter (an always heavenly combination), but I believe it’s the hint of coconut oil in two of the layers that makes these Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bars extra special.


Despite being raw, I will warn you that these bars are incredibly rich. I cut my batch into 16 pieces and each piece is more than a generous portion. I also couldn’t help but think that if there were a time to put edible gold on something that this would be it. Unfortunately, edible gold is not something I keep on hand, so I settled for a dusting of cacao powder—although I can’t decide if they are prettier with or without it.

[Update 11/23/12: I had originally posted this as a vegan recipe, but was reminded by a reader that honey is not vegan. All references to this recipe being vegan have been removed--sorry for any confusion!]

The Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Bars
Adapted from Nouveau Raw

Chocolate Brownie Layer:
3 cups raw walnuts
Pinch of fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup cacao powder
16 pitted dates (I used California dates)
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Layer:
3 cups old fashioned oats, divided
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted

Chocolate Ganache Layer:
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
3/4 cup cacao powder
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil (dull side up).

Chocolate Brownie Layer:
Pulse the walnuts and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cacao powder and process until incorporated. With the processor running, add the dates one by one. Then add the water and vanilla extract and process until the mixture comes together in a ball—be careful not to over-process it at this point.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to the lined baking pan and press the mixture down with your hands to create a smooth, even layer. Place in the freezer and start making the next layer.

Peanut Butter Layer:
Wipe out the food processor bowl and blade, then add 1 cup of the oats. Process the oats until they turn into oat flour. Add the remaining 2 cups of oats, salt, peanut butter, agave nectar, honey, and vanilla extract. Process until well mixed. With the processor running, drizzle in the melted coconut oil. Continue processing until everything is well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Take the baking pan with the chocolate brownie layer out of the freezer and dump 1 1/2 cups of the peanut butter mixture on top (there will be leftovers). Press the peanut butter mixture down with your hands to create a smooth, even layer. Place in the freezer and start making the next layer.

Chocolate Ganache Layer:
Place the agave nectar, cacao powder, coconut oil, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour on top of the peanut butter layer and move the pan around so that the ganache covers the top of the peanut butter layer in a smooth, even layer.

Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut into as many bars as you want.

Makes one 8-inch square pan.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

thelittleloaf August 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I’ve never made raw brownies despite seeing lots of versions on various blogs… These look seriously delicious and I love the peanut butter element – you might just have convinced me to give them a go :-)


Brooke (The Flour Sack) September 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and am so excited to see that you’ve made these peanut butter brownies, too! I love them and recently posted the recipe on my blog, as well! Here’s the link if you’d like to see…

Your pictures are so nice. I’m happy to have found a great new food blog to follow! :)


Connie September 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hi Brooke! Your bars are gorgeous. I loved them too! I’m so glad you stumbled on my blog. I started following your blog recently (after seeing one of your photos somewhere on Pinterest) and love your recipes.


wendy November 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

Ahh, since when has honey been considered ‘vegan’? You might want to look up the meaning of vegan.


Connie November 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

Thanks for pointing that out! It was an honest mistake… I’ve corrected it on the site.


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