Chocolate and ‘Caramel’ Oat Bars

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

Only a couple of days away from Valentine’s Day. I am not a big fan of buying commercialized presents, my husband neither. We honestly don’t buy much into the commercial side of Valentine’s Day.

However, I quite like the idea of making some nice sweet treats that you can enjoy with your loved ones. Of course, you can enjoy these delicious bars all year around, it doesn’t have to only be on Valentine’s Day. These oat bars are super easy to make, no baking required, you will only need a few ingredients and they’re nut free.

Photo By Nuraan Ackers

Nutritionally, these oat bars are also free from refined sugar. In fact, they are made with pumpkin seed butter. Pumpkin seed butter often gets relegated, especially when you have in mind the popular and delicious almond or peanut butter. However, the small pumpkin seeds are full of nutrients and you can find the butter in most health food stores. Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, protein and antioxidants.

The other key ingredient is rice malt syrup, which you can find in supermarkets as well as health food stores. Brown rice syrup is fructose free and it’s made from fermented brown rice. I guess you can also use honey as it has a similar thick and sticky texture (however, I haven’t tried it with honey).

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

The caramel and chocolate topping is made of coconut oil, raw cacao powder and dates. Coconut oil is rich in heart-healthy, plant-based monounsaturated and saturated fat which is essential for your hormones.

Dates will not only give a sweet caramel like texture and flavour, but dates are also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron and potassium, amongst others. Finally, raw cacao powder, which is one of the world’s highest sources of antioxidants. Cacao is also anti-inflammatory and a high source of iron and magnesium.

Some parents are afraid of giving chocolate to little ones. However, it is important to differentiate from those chocolate bars that are loaded with refined sugar, preservatives and so on. I only offer chocolate sweets to my son in forms like these oat bars that contain  cacao powder due to its nutritional benefits, in addition to the delicious flavour of chocolate that we already know.

Photo by Nuraan Ackers

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share it on social media and I will be very happy to see your creations. Don’t forget to tag @keepingitdelicious and #keepingitdelicious on instagram and @KeepingitDelic on twitter.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photo by Nuraan Ackers


For the base

170g oats

60g pumpkin seed butter

60g rice malt syrup

For the chocolate-‘caramel’

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup pitted dates (soaked)

2-3 tbsp Cacao powder

1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

How to:

  1. In a bowl, soak the dates for at least 15 mins in boiling water. Then set aside.
  2. In a big mixing bowl, mix the oats, pumpkin seed butter and rice syrup. Mix it all with your hands until the mixture sticks together (when you squash some of the mix in your hands). Wetting your hands slightly if necessary.
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Then empty the mixture onto the paper, using the back of a slightly wet spoon to pack the mixture tightly to make sure it is well stuck together and not crumbly.
  4. Put the tray in the fridge.
  5. Drain the pitted dates and place them in a food processor or blender. Add the coconut oil, cacao powder and salt.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Take the base out of the fridge and empty the chocolate ‘caramel’ mixture on top. Again, use a spoon or spatula to spread the mixture evenly.
  8. You can sprinkle some more pumpkin seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds or desiccated coconut on top if you wish.
  9. For the best results, place the tray in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
  10. Enjoy!

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