As Easter approaches we've got chocolate on the brain and we love reminiscing about what our favourite chocolate bars were growing up. Both Shamim and I always LOVED snickers, both the chocolate bar and the ice cream and we've enjoyed trying out several different home-made vegan versions.
The version we created here is a simplified version of another one we made a while back which had a coconut flour base. This time around we wanted to create a version with easy to find ingredients, Dates, nuts, melted vegan chocolate and peanut butter are pretty much all you need. We find these kinds of sweet treats immensely satisfying and a little goes a long way. We definitely recommend soaking the medjool dates for a nice smooth caramel centre.
We home-made our chocolate using cacao butter and cacao powder but you can simplify melt some good quality vegan chocolate for the coating if you don't have the time to make the chocolate or it's hard to find cacao butter.
We ended up using a combination of different nuts. You could of course stick with the classic peanuts- definitely roast them first for a greater depth of flavour. Hazelnuts, brazil nuts and almonds are all great substitutes or a combination of all of them.
For the base:
300g unsalted roasted peanuts
12 medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp sea salt
For the Caramel Centre:
12 medjool dates, soaked first and pitted
140ml almond milk (or plant milk of your choice)
130g crunchy peanut butter (divided into two parts)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp maca powder (optional)
1/2 tsp mesquite powder (optional)
1/2 tsp sea salt
100g roasted peanuts
50g roasted brazil nuts, chopped
For the Chocolate Coating:
250g cacao butter
150g cacao powder
60ml maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
or 260g of good quality dark vegan chocolate
1 tsp coconut oil
Blend the peanuts in your food processor until they form a light crumb. Add in the salt and Medjool dates and blend further until completely combined.
Line the base and sides of a 9x 9 " brownie baking tray with parchment paper, with enough to go over the edges on each side so it's easy to remove. Press the mixture evenly into the base of the dish using a spatula or the base of a large glass. Place in the fridge.
Add the dates, nut milk, half the peanut butter, mace & mesquite powder salt, and vanilla extract to a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth to make the caramel nougat filling. Transfer the caramel to a bowl and add the remaining half of peanut butter, then stir well to combine.
Spread the caramel on top of the base using a spatula. Add the roasted peanuts and brazil nuts on top of the caramel and press them down into the surface of the caramel using your spatula. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Remove the snickers slab from the baking tray and cut it into whatever size bar you want to have. Place the bars back in the freezer whilst you prepare the chocolate coating.
For the coating, if you are making it yourself, melt the cacao butter over some simmering water in a glass bowl ensuring the bowl doesn'tt touch the water.Once melted, sift in the cacao powder and then whisk together with the maple syrup and sea salt. Alternatively simply melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a glass bowl over barely simmering water in a pan ensuring once again that the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Dip the bars into the melted chocolate and sit them on top of some parchment paper to set. You can drizzle a bit of chocolate on top of each bar to create a nice pattern and then sprinkle some more roasted crushed peanuts on top.
We find it incredibly satisfying to home-make this type of treat, and as you can see it's refined-sugar free but has the most irresistible and intense sweetness from the dates so perfectly set off and contrasted but the nuts and dark chocolate coating. We hope you'll find it as fun as we did to try your hand at making these. Happy feasting!
El and Sham x