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Healthy No-Bake 3-Layer Chocolate Espresso Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)*

An easy-to-make, fudgy bar that can function as an energy-boosting snack but tastes good enough to be dessert.

  • Yield: 16 bars 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Chocolate Bar Base

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) almond flour
  • 5 1/2 ounces (1 cup, packed) pitted and halved Medjool dates
  • 1 1/8 ounces (1/3 cup) cocoa powder**
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 1/8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) old-fashioned oats
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
  • 1 tablespoon espresso***
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Espresso Almond Butter Filling

  • 13 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) unsweetened almond butter (I used my go-to DIY version
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) espresso***
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder

Chocolate Top Layer

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (for dairy-free and sugar-free, I recommend Lily’s Sweets baking bar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
  • flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

Chocolate Bar Base

  1. Line an 8" square pan with foil and grease foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the almond flour, dates, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and process until the mixture is coarse. Add the oats and pulse in to incorporate - bits of oat should still be visible. Add the water, espresso, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and process until most of the dough clumps together.
  3. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared pan (it helps to use a wide, flat spatula greased lightly with cooking spray to do this). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Espresso Almond Butter Filling

  1. Mix together the almond butter, espresso, and espresso powder until evenly combined. Press over first bar layer in pan to cover. Refrigerate until firm.

Chocolate Top Layer

  1. Melt the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave for 30-second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted. Stir in the coconut oil until smooth. Pour over the almond butter layer of the bars and tilt the pan around to allow chocolate to spread and smooth out evenly over top. Cool for a minute or two before sprinkling with sea salt, if desired. Allow to cool at room temperature until chocolate has set (it will still be soft) before slicing into bars. Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

*If you want these bars to be 100% gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar free, be sure to use gluten-free oats and vegan, sugar free dark chocolate.

**I used dutch cocoa to intensify the chocolate flavor, but regular cocoa powder will work as well.

***If you don't have espresso you can sub strongly-brewed coffee