Chocolate Chip Cashew Nut Butter Bars
No, not cashew butter bars. Cashew nut butter bars. As in bars made with chopped cashews and also some type of nut butter. Although you definitely can use cashew butter as your nut butter of choice. Because the choice is all yours; this is a mildly open-ended recipe.
Look at me, letting you choose which type of nut butter you want to use. So democratic of me.
You cannot, however, choose whether or not to skip the chocolate chip part of this chocolate chip cashew nut butter bar recipe. The chocolate chips (chunks, for me) MUST be included. This is not up for discussion.
Yes, I'm back with the nut butters. What can I say? Nut butters (and seed butters) make recipes so rich and chewy and dense and flavorful and addictive. Case in point: these pecan cookies, these peanut butter cookies, these tahini cookies, and these breakfast bars. To name a few.
But this bar recipe, unlike all of the other recipes on the blog that I've made with nut butter, has flour in it. These bars aren't gluten-free. The nut butter doesn't replace all the flour or even all the butter/oil in this recipe.
I wanted to create a bar that had a lot of richness from the addition nut butter. But I didn't want the nut butter flavor to be too overpowering. I wanted it to be there. But not too forcefully. If that makes any sense.
Which is why you won't find a full cup of nut butter in the ingredient list. You'll find a little less - 2/3'rds of a cup. Plus a little coconut oil and a little more flour.
Don't worry - you'll still get that amazing chewiness from the nut butter, that amazing richness and deep flavor. But you'll also get that nice texture from the coconut oil and the flour, which will lighten up the bars just a little bit.
And I decided to go with chopped cashews for these nut butter bars, because I feel like walnuts and pecans and almonds are always showing up in recipes, and everyone disregards poor old cashews, which happen to be delicious, especially when toasted.
Wow, that was a long sentence. Just don't forget to toast your cashews.
Now, let's discuss the nut butter.
My favorite type to use in this recipe is pecan butter; I find it adds the deepest flavor. But let's be honest - pecan butter is pricy and hard to procure. If you find it though, I do think it's worth the splurge.
But if you don't want to opt for the pecan butter, my next favorite is cashew butter. Cashew butter lends a unique, smoky flavor to the bars that you won't get from other nut butters. It's also a bit lighter in flavor, which is nice in its own way.
My third choice would be almond butter, which is actually what I used in the bars you see pictured here. Almond butter has a very rich flavor, but it's not as supaaa special as pecan or cashew butter is, in my humble opinion.
You could go with peanut butter, but then your bars will just be peanut butter bars. Because peanut butter has such an overpowering flavor. Which is great if you LOOOOVE peanut butter and that's all you wanna taste, but not if you want to try something a little different.
And as for walnut butter, I've never tried it. But I would imagine that it lends a deep, earthy flavor that's probably amazing.
Well, that's my speech on nut butters. You'll have to excuse me if I went a bit overboard, but as you can see, I'm very passionate about this topic.
Hope you're ready for these rich, deeply flavored, dense, soft, chewy chocolate chip cashew nut butter bars made with your choice of either pecan, cashew, almond (or peanut or walnut) butter. Cuz they take just minutes to make. So you better be ready.
chocolate chip cashew nut butter bars
Yield: 16-20 bars
1/4 cup melted coconut oil*
2/3 cup natural nut butter (my favorite is pecan butter, followed by cashew, then almond butter)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chocolate chunks/chips
1/2 cup chopped cashews, toasted
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving excess hanging over for easy removal later.
Spread cashews out onto a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden brown, about 9-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together the oil, nut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth mixture forms.
Add flour and salt to bowl and stir until just combined with wet ingredients. Mix in chocolate chips and cashews last.
Drop dough into prepared pan and flatten to spread evenly. Bake bars for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the edges just begin to get golden.
Let bars cool before lifting out of pan by excess parchment paper and slicing into squares.
*Note: use refined coconut oil if you don't want any coconut flavor in your bars.