Chunky Monkey Bars

Offer me anything chunky monkey flavoured and I’ll struggle to say no – it’s undeniably one of my favourite flavour combinations. The trio of peanut butter, banana and chocolate makes these no bake bars so moreish – a layer of creamy banana and peanut butter cheesecake complete with a caramelised cinnamon nut topping, atop a gooey date caramel and fudgey chocolate brownie base – these bars are everything that you could want from a plant based dessert and more.

Peanut butter and banana is a combination which I just can’t get enough of, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to breakfast time and it makes the best addition to these four layered dessert bars. And you can bet that I’ve packed peanut butter in to these bars in every way possible – a gooey peanut butter date caramel sandwiched between a layer of creamy vegan cheesecake, which is studded with candied nuts and a fudgey chocolate peanut butter brownie base. All of which makes these bars sweet, gooey and so moreish.

I have always loved cheesecake and the blend of coconut milk and cashews makes it so easy to create a vegan alternative that’s creamy, smooth and so satisfying. Like with my salted caramel brownie cheesecake slice, its texture makes these bars incredibly satisfying to bite in to – especially when it’s combined with the crunch from the caramelised nuts, sticky caramel and fudgey brownie base – everything comes together to make these such a delicious and indulgent sweet treat.

Even I have to admit that I’m impressed with how well these bars turned out – but then again, when each of the 3 layers is packed with peanut butter, there really wasn’t any opportunity to go wrong. The rich nutty flavour pairs so well with the sharpness from the cacao and they’re naturally sweetened with banana, dates and maple syrup. These decadent bars truly are the most indulgent, and best way, to get your peanut butter and banana fix.

I love seeing you recreate my recipes so if you make these, please let me know in the comments below and donโ€™t forget to tag me in your photos on Instagram using @nourishingyas or #nourishingyas.

Ingredients

makes 12 bars

for the nutty chocolate base
  • 200g nuts – I used almonds
  • 300g medjool dates
  • 4 tbsps cacao powder
  • 6 tbsps smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsps nut milk
for the peanut butter caramel
  • 300g medjool dates
  • 2 tbsps peanut butter
for the banana peanut butter cheesecake
  • 60g cashews, soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 6 tbsps coconut cream
  • 250g banana
  • 3 tbsps maple syrup
  • 3 tbsps peanut butter
for the caramelised nut topping
  • 100g nuts
  • 2 tbsps maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Line a square baking tin with grease proof paper – this will make it easier to pull the slab out at the end. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 4, in preparation for the nut topping.
  2. Start by making the base – add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blitz until combined. The mix should stick together when squeezed between your fingers.
  3. Transfer the base to the lined tray and spread in to an even, compact layer. Place in the freezer to set.
  4. Make the peanut butter caramel by adding the medjool dates and peanut butter to the blender along with 3 tbsps water. Blend until smooth and creamy – you may need to add a little more water.
  5. Remove the base from the freezer and spread over the caramel in a smooth, even layer. Return to the freezer to set.
  6. Place the nuts for the topping on a baking tray along with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Ensure that they are fully coated and place in the center of the oven for 8-10 minutes until caramelised and fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Whilst the nuts cool, prepare the cheesecake layer by draining the cashews. Add them to the blender along with the remaining cheesecake ingredients.
  8. Remove the base from the freezer and pour over the cheesecake layer. Scatter the nuts over the top and gently press them down in to the mixture.
  9. Return to the freezer to set for 1-2 hours. Once set, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw slightly before cutting in to 12 equal slices.
  10. Store in the fridge where it will keep for up to 3 days, or I like to store a batch in the freezer where they will keep for up to a month. Enjoy!

If you liked this recipe then why not try my or Chocolate, Pistachio and Raspberry Cheesecakes or Chocolate Caramel and Coconut Nougat Bars.

Posted by

Hi, I'm Yasmin! Plant based recipe developer and certified health and wellness influencer. I share simple, nourishing plant based recipes along with tips on healthy living, mental health and well being, in the hope that I can inspire others to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.

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