Home! It is a good place to be. Home baking — even better. Especially during cookie season! Just four days out of the house over Thanksgiving break refilled my creative energy… if only I had time to cook every idea that comes to mind!
We visited Roy, New Mexico for Thanksgiving, so instead of your traditional holiday dinner we cooked with a camp stove among friends (including some camping recipes that I’m definitely going to share here come summer: black bean and kale skillet enchiladas, an iteration of these chorizo and egg breakfast tacos, and plenty of cocoa). Not your traditional holiday, but it was perfect for me. A way to unplug, relax, and enjoy the beautiful dessert!
Besides, I have been craving a trip to New Mexico since last Christmas when I tried to convince Oliver to go on a last minute road trip to Santa Fe (instead we spent it at home doing not much of anything).
In anticipation of some upcoming trips, I had made these bars ahead of time, and they were the perfect mid-day snack while we were out climbing, and delicious enough to be a treat around the campfire.
After baking them, I sliced them up and kept them in the freezer, and then packed them into the cooler with the rest of our supplies.
Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic (the best!!) so when I went to make something akin to a snacking bar but more luxurious, it felt like the perfect fit. Something hearty and filling for long days outside, but something that still tastes basically like dessert (happy sweet tooth = happy me).
Adding in hemp hearts and cacao nibs also walks this line of snack gone dessert… hemp hearts make me think granola bar, cacao nibs feel more like a treat. What you get is a treat you feel good about — and a snack for those moments when you really want a treat (and I always want my snacks to feel like treats).
These bars also are a GREAT better-for-you option for holiday cookies. Like blondie meets oatmeal cookie meets peanut butter cup with more good stuff packed in. Which is why I’m sharing it with you now!
Serves: 12 | Active Time: 1 hour
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9x9 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, egg, honey and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add salt, oats, almond flour, peanuts, hemp hearts, and cacao nibs and fold to create a thick, sticky, crumbly batter.
- Press mixture into prepared baking dish in an even layer, and bake in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes.
- Allow base to cool completely before adding chocolate topping. While base cools, melt chocolate and coconut oil by placing bowl in a microwave-safe bowl, and heating at 30-second intervals, stirring between each round. (You can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler).
- Spread chocolate in an even layer over oat base. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts and 1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt. Allow chocolate to set completely.
- Once chocolate is set, lift the bars from the dish (pull out the parchment paper with the bars to get them out more easily) and slice into 12 equal pieces.
- Store in an air-tight container in the fridge or freezer.