Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars

There are some things around my kitchen and pantry that I find myself using far more now, on our mostly plant-based whole foods diet, than I ever used them before making this switch. Certain tools and ingredients that used to sit and gather dust now get almost daily use.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars - yummy healthy

I use my blender for smoothies several days a week. My knife set is constantly slicing, dicing, and chopping fruits and vegetables. My food processor is frequently used for energy bites, as well as salsa, guacamole, and hummus.

Dried beans are something we used to have frequently already, but we have them even more now. We now keep a large store of nuts and dried fruits on hand, as well as a variety of whole grains. And we go through peanut butter like nobody’s business.

It’s been interesting to see how my kitchen and pantry have been evolving as our eating and shopping habits change. And honestly? Even though I’m forever having to wash the blender, food processor, and knives, I am truly loving our new diet. With treats like these peanut butter cookie dough bars, though, it’s pretty easy to love! Based on this recipe from Sweetest Kitchen, these bars will win over anyone. The Halloween party I took them to was full of omnivores who eat stuff made with sugar and butter and meat and processed everything, and the bars were completely gone when we left. Empty pan = happy eaters!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars - yummy healthy

I wanted better pictures than these, but as I said, the bars were all eaten by the end of the night. Otherwise I would have saved a couple bars for pictures in daylight the next day. As it was, these were the only pictures I got – two little bars on a paper napkin, in terrible gymnasium lighting. Thank goodness for photo editing software!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars
Makes 24-48 bars
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups pitted dried dates, soaked
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
Chocolate topping:
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
4 tbsp cocoa powder

To soak dates, place in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain.

Place almonds in large food processor. If your food processor is not very large, do two smaller batches. Process almonds until they resemble coarse crumbs.

Add dates, peanut butter, and vanilla. Process until it starts to form a dough that balls together.

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and empty dough into pan. Flatten dough with hands (I covered the dough with plastic wrap to keep my hands cleaner for this step) until dough is pressed evenly into pan. Let set in refrigerator.

To make chocolate topping, combine coconut oil and honey. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Spread evenly over bars.

Store in refrigerator. When set, cut into bars (anywhere from 24 to 48 bars, depending on how large you cut them). These should be kept cold because the chocolate will melt easily.

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