I’m in full-on “no-bake” mode over here. Meaning, lots of fun, raw dessert recipes will be popping up on the blog in the near future. I’m starting off with these No-Bake Walnut Crumble Bars. And guys, I’m not kidding when I say these are the BEST Paleo cookie bars!
The first layer is a soft, shortbread cookie base. Next, comes the sweet, crumbly filling; which consists of dates, walnuts and coconut. And finally, these bars are topped with a silky smooth, chocolate fudge. An easy, raw dessert that anyone will love!
I have a confession…the first time I made these bars, it was a disaster!
Now, I’m not talking in terms of taste. After all, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong with a mixture of nuts, dates, coconut and chocolate.
What turned out to be the disaster was the fact that these bars fell to pieces during the first round of testing. They looked absolutely perfect sitting in the pan and I was SO excited! But, when I went to cut into them, things turned for the worst.
What went wrong?
Well, the shortbread crust was perfect. (Whew, at least I did something right!) The first problem started with the filling. See, I didn’t use enough dates and let’s just say “crumble” was all the middle turned out to be.
Next, I didn’t create a chocolate fudge topping, but rather melted dark chocolate as the final layer. Since the filling was so unstable, and the topping rock solid, the whole thing collapsed. Note to self, hard chocolate toppings only cut properly with firm layers beneath them. My bad, my bad!
Thankfully, I took all of my mistakes into consideration and re-made these Walnut Crumble Bars. The result: successful, no-bake cookie bars that not only taste amazing but hold together well enough to cut and share!
So, you know these bars are made of three perfect layers that compliment one another nicely. But, what are the ingredients?
Ingredients in No-Bake Walnut Crumble Bars
My recipe has three simple layers, starting with the crust:
Afterwards, comes the filling:
Lastly, the topping. Which, by the way, is my favorite part! I’m a sucker for chocolate, specifically fudge.
- dark chocolate
- drippy nut butter
How To Make Walnut Bars
These bars are made layer by layer.
First off, the crust. All crust ingredients are placed into a food processor (or high powered blender) and blended until the mixture starts to clump. Next, the crust dough is pressed into a lined 8″ x 8″ baking pan.
The filling is made in a similar manner as the crust. Simply, place all filling ingredients in the food processor and blend until the mixture starts to clump. Spread the filling over the crust, firmly pressing down.
Lastly, to make the topping, melt the dark chocolate on low heat over the stove top. Once melted, mix in nut butter. I used chunky peanut butter but any nut or seed butter works. In fact, you could even substitute with coconut cream.
Ingredient Substitutions in Walnut Crumble Bars
A few simple substitutions can be made in these Paleo walnut bars that will still result in a tasty, no-bake dessert.
Firstly, you can entirely change up the recipe by using a different type of nut. I know, I know…these wouldn’t be “Walnut” Crumble Bars anymore. But, if you don’t have walnuts on hand or don’t want to use them, then any nut should work in it’s place. Just one thing to note: walnuts do have a unique texture. They tend to be softer and less dry (if that makes sense) than many other nuts. I think the best swap would be to use cashews.
For the filling, any dried fruit would work in place of the dates. However, my biggest concern would be taste. For instance, using raisins in place of dates will really change the flavor. My best advice is to make sure whatever fruit you select tastes good with chocolate. Also, be sure to use the proper weight measurement when making swaps.
Lastly, you can swap out the nut butter in the topping for any seed butter or even coconut cream. Like I mentioned earlier, I used chunky peanut butter. Technically, peanuts are a legume and not 100% Paleo. But, I consume peanuts every now and then and think they are perfectly fine in moderation, so long as you tolerate them.
How To Store No-Bake Walnut Crumble Bars
I recommend storing these bars in the fridge. However, you may keep them in an air-tight container at room temperature. The bars won’t last as long this way. But, let’s be honest, they won’t stick around long enough to go bad anyway! 😉
Another option is to store these walnut bars in the freezer. To soften, you can defrost them for a few minutes prior to eating.
If you like this recipe be sure to check out some of my other no-bake bars:
Easy, no-bake walnut bars with a soft cookie crust, crumbly walnut filling and smooth chocolate topping.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (75g)
- 1/2 cup walnut halves (50g)
- 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil, room temp
- 1 Tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 125g Medjool dates, pitted (about 8 dates)
- 1 cup walnut halves (100g)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (55g)
- pinch of salt
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- 1/3 cup drippy nut butter*
- For the crust, place all crust ingredients in food processor or high powdered blender. Blend, stop to scrape the sides, then blend until dough starts to clump.
- Remove crust mixture from food processor and firmly press into a lined 8″ x 8″ square pan.
- For the filling, place all filling ingredients in food processor and blend until mixture starts to clump.
- Remove filling from food processor, pour over crust and firmly press down.
- For the topping, melt dark chocolate in a small pan on the stove-top, over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is fully melted. Remove from heat and add nut butter.
- Pour topping over filling.
- Set bars in fridge overnight, or at least 2 hours, to firm.
- Cut into 16 bars and serve!
- Store bars in fridge or freezer.
*I used chunky peanut butter for the topping. If you are “strict” Paleo, sub the peanut butter for any nut butter or seed butter. Another option is to use coconut cream.
Keywords: no-bake, walnut bars, cookie bars, vegan, paleo, dessert, egg free