Chewy peanut butter and chocolate bars
Gluten free, grain free, vegan, refined sugar free, FODMAP friendly, fructose friendly
Prep Time20 mins
Assembly Time20 mins
FOR THE PEANUT BARS:
- 2/3 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 tablespoon soy milk you could probably use any plant milk of choice
- 1 1/2 - 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2/3 cup natural smooth peanut butter I used Ridiculously Delicious brand
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes use less and taste if using table salt
- 75 g cocoa or cacao butter see notes
- 1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
FOR THE CHOCOLATE COATING:
- 125-175g dark vegan chocolate (see notes, I use Lindt couverture)
- 30-50g cocoa or cacao butter
TO MAKE THE PEANUT BARS
Line a 24cm x 24cm baking tin with baking paper, edges hanging up over the sides. This needn’t be precise – it’s just so you can pull the bars up easily later.
Make sure your peanuts are ready to roll – if they’re raw, peel roast them. Discard the skins, if they’re in skins. Chop them to your preferred size – I like a mix of finely and roughly chopped peanuts.
Place the rice malt syrup over in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow it to cook for around 5 minutes. It should have started bubbling up around the 2 or 3 minute mark.
While this is happening, heat the cocoa or cacao butter in another small saucepan over a low heat. Once it has melted you can turn it off, or continue to leave it on a very low heat.
Now that the rice malt syrup has been going for around 5 minutes, add the soy milk and stir to combine. It should bubble and then subside, before beginning to bubble up again. Kind of similar to adding cream to a caramel sauce.
Next up, stir through the vanilla bean paste, and then the melted cocoa or cacao butter.
Follow this with the peanut butter and sea salt flakes, stirring them through until a smooth, peanut butter coloured mixture has formed. Take the mixture off the heat, and immediately stir through the peanuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and pop into the fridge to harden completely – at least 2 hours (overnight is ideal.)
The bars can be sliced pretty easily when cold, but as an insurance policy, I like to leave them at room temperature before cutting, and then put them in the freezer to flash freeze – around 10-15 minutes. The freezing makes the chocolate coating process a lot quicker, and allows you to do double coats very easily.
TO COAT THE BARS
If you're planning to generously coat the bars, use the higher amounts of chocolate and cocoa. If one coat per bar is fine with you, use the lesser amount.
Melt the dark chocolate (see noteand cocoa or cacao butter in a double boiler (placing a steel boil over a small pot, half filled with water, over a medium heat. Allow the mixture to melt completely. The cacao butter is especially important in ensuring the bars don’t melt in your hands when you go to eat them, so don’t leave it out.
Once it has melted, remove the sliced bars from the freezer. Place a well greased cooling rack over a sheet of baking paper (I put mine atop a baking tray so nothing slips.) The rack helps chocolate drip off, the greasing attempts to stop the bars from getting stuck to the rack, and the baking paper catches chocolate drips. The chocolate will dry on the paper and you can slide it back into the double boiler to melt again, or just eat as is.
Use two forks to lower the bars, one at a time, into the chocolate mixture. Toss to coat them thoroughly, and then transfer them to the rack to dry off. I like to double coat my bars (or even triple!) Wait until they start to go a little matte before you do the second coat.
Just before the bars dry, you can sprinkle them with whatever you fancy – a little sea salt, some extra crushed peanuts, or nothing. Allow to dry completely before gently pulling off the rack (I have lost a few chocolate bottoms in this procesand transferring to an airtight container. These bars last really well in a container for a week or so.