Dark Chocolate Tahini Oat Squares
These Dark Chocolate Tahini Oat Squares are the healthy treats you didn't know you needed! They're moist, crunchy, sweet, salty and nutty. Oh, and they're naturally sweetened and dairy-free!
If you've seen some of my other recipes on the blog, you'll probably have gathered that I have a bit of a sweet tooth! My sugar cravings usually kick in after I've eaten dinner or when I'm having a cup of tea so I always make sure I have some healthier treats available and these Dark Chocolate Tahini Oat Squares really hit the spot. They're so delicious and really do satisfy those sugar cravings perfectly! To top it off, they actually make a pretty wholesome snack, as they contain absolutely no refined sugar (depending on your choice of chocolate) and are made up of clean, nourishing ingredients such as gluten-free rolled oats, organic medijool dates, dark chocolate, organic cacao powder and tahini!
Let's talk about the health and nutritional benefits
Overall, these Dark Chocolate Tahini Oat Squares are a great source of healthy proteins, fats, fibres and carbs. More specifically, thanks to the cacao powder, dark chocolate, tahini and dates, they're also high in:
1) Iron - needed to transport oxygen around the body
2) Antioxidants - help protect our cells against free radicals (unstable molecules that can cause disease)
3) Magnesium - helps regulate muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
The natural sugars, gluten-free oats and tahini also make it a great energy-boosting snack. Tahini in particular is high in vitamins B1 and B6, which are important for energy production and brain function. It's also rich in vitamin E, which protects against heart disease and stroke. In addition, around 50% of the fat in tahini comes from monounsaturated fatty acids, which possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Ingredients and substitutes
I included puffed rice in the base of these squares to give them some extra texture and crunch. In order to crisp them up, I roasted them in the oven for 10-12 minutes at 200°C.
Substitute: Rice Krispies (please note that using these will no longer make them refined sugar-free).
Alternatively, you can skip these out completely.
A lot of the time people often get confused between cocoa powder and cacao powder. Whilst they both derive from the beans in cacao plants, they are processed in different ways and hence differ slightly in terms of their nutritional contents.
For cocoa powder, which is commonly used in baking or to make hot chocolate, the beans are fermented and roasted, and then processed at a very high temperature, where some of its nutritional content is lost. Many of the cocoa powders available to us today also contain added sugar and sometimes dairy.
For cacao powder, the beans are solely fermented and processed at a low temperature, meaning much of its nutritional content still remains. It's generally sold in a raw powder form, without additives, and is more bitter in taste.
In order to keep these free from refined-sugar and as healthy as possible, I have used organic cacao powder. Again, this is completely optional.
You'll need a fairly powerful blender to make these as the dates can make the mixture quite sticky.
Dark Chocolate Tahini Oat Squares
Serves: 18 (18 squares)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
70g puffed rice or Rice Krispies
150g gluten-free rolled oats
120g medijool dates
120ml almond milk, or any plant-based alternative
2 tsp cacao powder
Pinch of salt
70g dark chocolate
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp tahini
Smoked sea salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Add puffed rice to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Once done, leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
2. Place the oats into a blender and blend at a high speed until a fine flour forms. Add in the puffed rice, dates, almond milk, cacao powder and salt and continue to blend until a thick dough-like mixture has formed. This becomes pretty sticky so make sure you're scraping the sides of your blender down regularly.
3. Transfer to a square baking tin lined with parchment paper and press down evenly. Place in the freezer while we make the chocolate layer.
4. Melt the dark chocolate and maple syrup over a double broiler. Once melted, remove the base from the freezer and pour the chocolate over it, ensuring it's completely covered. Once you have a smooth, even layer, drizzle the tahini over the melted chocolate (you can use a toothpick to form a marble pattern if you're feeling creative)!
5. Place in the fridge to let set for at least 30 minutes and then eat until your heart's content! Consume within a week or freeze and consume within a month.
I hope you love this recipe!