Hungry Haley

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Salted Tahini Caramel Walnut Bars (GF, V)

Bars, DessertHaley HansenComment

It’s still just a wee bit too warm to turn on the oven for baking… so these no-bake Salted Tahini Caramel Walnut Bars are a must-make for the end of summer. Vegan and gluten-free!

My last Haley-night was exactly one week ago. And before that, another whole entire week. I’m not complaining - don’t get me wrong! I’ve been spending oodles of time with some of my best and funniest friends. It’s just… who is this unfamiliar social person living inside me and making me actually want to be out of the house chatting with people 5-6 days a week? I don’t know her, but I kinda’ like her.

Salted Tahini Caramel Walnut Bars (GF, V)

By the time I graduated college just a few months ago, I could count on one or maybe two hands the amount of times I went out, like downtown to the bars for a night of a few drinks and lots of socializing. I spent five years college, so if we do the math correctly, that comes out to me going out once or twice a year. HA. I was definitely one of the odd ones out when it came to having a social life. Like I said - not complaining! I loved my Friday nights with my metabolism textbook and best friends right beside me.

And now here I am, haven’t opened a textbook in over six months, but I have rallied a few people in the bars to dance like no one is watching. I have struck up conversation with grocery store clerks and even maybe a guy or two at a bar (sorry, Dad!). I have had social plans more often than not for the last month straight. I’m having a good ol’ time! And what makes it even better is the look on my friends’ faces when I suggest we go out and do something one night - “who is she? where’s our quiet introverted Haley?” they ask, simultaneously puzzled and rejoicing that these words are coming out of my mouth.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Prepare to be amazed. Haley! Is! Sociaaaaaaallllll! And the crowd goes wild.

And then Haley moves back in with her parents just in time for a nice freezing cold Minnesota winter. It’s okay it’s okay! I’m going to use this momentum I have built up to make new friends and meet new people in the state where supposedly everyone is super nice? At least that’s what I keep hearing. That, and everyone’s lame fake Minnesota accents. If you haven’t yet joked with me about Minnesoooooota, this is me politely telling you to save it. Please and thank you :)

Anybody want to place some bets on how long the social bug will stay in my system?

No one? Really? Okay cool me neither. Just make the most of it while it’s here :)

RECIPE
Makes about 16 bars

For the crust:
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
2 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

For the filling:
14-16 large Medjool dates, soaked in hot water for at least 1 hour
1/4 cup raw walnuts
2 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the chocolate:
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 handful of walnuts, roughly chopped

  1. Start by making the crust. In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil until combined. The mixture will likely tighten up because that’s just how tahini is sometimes. It’s okay, just keep moving forward. Next, stir together the flours and flaxseed meal in a separate bowl and then use your hands to work this into the wet ingredients. It’s a good idea to rub your hands with just a little bit of oil or water before you mix the sticky dough to prevent it from caking onto your hands completely. Work the flours into the wet ingredients until completely incorporated.

  2. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish with oil and press the crust into the bottom in an even layer. Refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

  3. Move on to the filling. In a high-powered blender or food processor, pulse the dates, walnuts, and tahini until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and sea salt, and pulse again to combine. Transfer this to the baking dish with the crust pressed into the bottom and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  4. And finally, the chocolate topping. In a double-boiler or microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil until smooth. Pour this over the date filling and tilt the pan forward, backward, and sideways alternating to cover the filling in a smooth layer. Sprinkle with roughly chopped walnuts and refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 1 hour.

  5. When you’re ready to cut into the bars, carefully run a knife along the perimeter of the baking dish to loosen the bars from the edge of the dish. Poke the knife into the center of the bars and cut through. The first couple of bars may crack and ooze the filling. That is okay - it’s difficult to cut the chocolate in a smooth fashion. Divide the bars into 4 columns each way and cut from there to leave you with 16 bars.

  6. Refrigerate until you are ready to eat to prevent the chocolate from melting. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  7. Enjoy!

Salted Tahini Caramel Walnut Bars (GF, V)