These Peanut Butter Cacao Fudge Bars are silky, decadent, melt-in-your-mouth delish.
Ribbons of creamy peanut butter ripple and swirl with rich coconut oil peanut butter fudge. Hints of banana, maple and cinnamon too. Bold crunchy raw cacao nibs on top and a thin layer of soft hemp seeds as the crust. Cravable. And oh so easy.
Fast Treat. It took me only about five minutes to prepare this fudge. And then about fifteen minutes to sit back and twiddle my thumbs while the mixture chilled in the freezer. No baking. No fuss. Just blend, chill, slice and serve.
Seriously, look at how easy this recipe is! ..(and lets chat coconut oil)...
Peanut Butter Cacao Chip Fudge
vegan, makes about 9 squares
1 cup + 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil, virgin organic cold-pressed (measure at room temperature state - fluffy form, not melted)
1 cup creamy peanut butter, organic salted at room temperature (or warm to soften)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt (dash)
crust: 1/4 cup organic hemp seeds
1-2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter, softened to drizzle-able state
1-2 tbsp raw cacao nibs
1. Add all the ingredients to a blender (high speed works best.)
2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Spread crust hemp seeds over bottom of a glass dish (anything about 7"-10" inches square - or close to it - will work.)
4. Pour the blended mixture right over top the hemp seeds.
5. Warm the peanut butter topping (microwave a few seconds) and drizzle over top the mixture. Swirl it with a toothpick for pretty designs. Sprinkle the cacao nibs over top.
6. Place dish in freezer for about 15-20 minutes - or until the center of the mixture has firmed - enough to slice into bars. This may take longer or shorter depending on how thick your bars have been poured. If you are not serving the bars for a few hours you can just place the dish in the fridge. Store leftover bars in fridge.
The Good Stuff. Now like I said - this dessert is rich! You can easily just eat a tiny fudge-sized nibble and feel like you have treated yourself. Peanut butter and coconut oil makes for a rich treat. But hopefully those antioxidant-rich cacao nibs and protein-rich hemp seeds will make you feel a little better about indulging. The hemp seeds just bind to the bottom of the fudge..
And this is an almost raw recipe.. the peanut butter was roasted. But actually, to make it raw you could use raw peanut butter or another raw nut butter.
The secret to this vegan fudge is the virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil has literally transformed the world of vegan baking and desserts. Even the mainstream baking crowd is falling in love with this versatile ingredient - for example, you can find coconut oil in the Sprinkles vegan red velvet cupcakes.
Just for fun lets look at the nutritional analysis (per half pb fudge bar) 18 servings per recipe above..
calories: 217, fat: 20g, protein: 4g, carbs: 8g, iron: 3%
Not to go all nutrition-y on you in a dessert post - but I want to chat about this crazy coconut oil stuff, since there is so much of it in this recipe…
Coconut oil has the amazing ability to firm up at when chilled (stick it in the fridge and it becomes a solid block - waxy almost - yet coconut oil stays soft and pillow-y at temperatures at about 66-75 degrees. Anything over 75 degrees and the oil turns liquid. I have seen it used in a wide variety of raw recipes including vegan cheesecake, energy balls, truffles, cookies and more.
Now the tricky part, for me, about coconut oil is that there is still some controversy as to whether or not it is a nutrition powerhouse or a healthy fat dud. You can find virgin coconut oil in the "nutrition and supplements" section of Whole Foods (and the oil section) - and I often see it for sale at nutrition stores like The Vitamin Shoppe.
But here comes the tricky part. If you skim the virgin coconut oil label you will find a lot of fat. Not surprising. But 13g out of the 14g of fat per tablespoon are saturated. Bad, right? Well maybe not. Simply explained, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually quite unique and possibly really good for you!
Fat burning fudge bars??? Lets investigate..
Dr Mercola says this about it.. (and I've found that a wide number of experts agree with his stance)
"It may be surprising for you to learn that the naturally occurring saturated fat in coconut oil is actually good for you and provides a number of profound health benefits, such as: Improving your heart health. Boosting your thyroid. Increasing your metabolism. Promoting a lean body and weight loss if needed. Supporting your immune system. Coconut oil even benefits your skin when applied topically and has been found to have anti-aging, regenerative effects."
His reasoning, "Coconut oil is also nature's richest source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs"
He continues to explain how MCT's are easily digested by the liver and burned as fuel. And while eating too many calories of anything will contribute to weight gain, coconut oil as a whole food is actually beneficial to us - and may even help our bodies burn fat. Sounds too good to be true, right?
These fudge bars may be weight loss bars!!! :)
Read more of his explanation on Huffington Post
For me, I am staying on the "everything in moderation" side for coconut oil. How about you?