Soft and chewy, sweet and
gooey comforting... with a good dose of chocolate and a nice espresso kick. That's what these bars are all about. I've lately been having so much of the chocolate + espresso + molasses combo, and I honestly can't get enough. These chocolate covered espresso oat bars & a nice cup of coffee... dreams...
When I started making these bars, I wasn't sure where I was heading with them at all. All I knew is that I wanted to have that choco-espresso fix and I needed a medium of some kind for that. Oats seemed a good way to go. They're soft, mellow, tasty, and a good vessel for all kinds of flavors. And so I made the oaty "filling" first, and the rest my hands just sort of made by themselves... with whatever ideas flowed and whatever I had on hand.
Thinking about it now, I can see how this recipe could probably be pretty versatile for those with alternative preferences. Like doing half and half on the oats & dates and eliminating the coconut oil for those oil-free... Or using some pre-soaked buckwheat groats in place of oats for those sensitive to oats... Using a homemade magic shell in place of melted chocolate... Adding a bit of coconut sugar for a slightly caramely boost... A bit of orange extract for a choco espresso orange treat... Raw oats for raw version... Omitting the espresso and adding some raw ground vanilla bean (or a flavor of choice)... So many options with these and super easy to customize and have fun with. Then again, I'm quite pleased with how these turned out and probably wouldn't change a thing for next time :)
The only thing I'd say is that you must keep that molasses flavor! I know it's not a lot and many people ask whether it's essential because they don't want to spend money on a jar just to use the smallest amount in a recipe. I'm going to lie and say that it is essential... ok, you caught me, it isn't... -- but I highly recommend trying it. It adds such a beautiful deep malty flavor to chocolate. And you'll see that before long you'll be adding it to lots of things... So yeah, it's essential (but isn't if you must omit it of course... ;) ).
But ingredients aside... these bars are the easiest thing to make. And have been totally inseparable from my cup of coffee all week. I can't begin to imagine what my cuppa will be like without them when I run out... ?
Chocolate Covered Espresso Oat Bars
A soft, chewy, chocolate covered gluten-free snack bar with a kick of espresso flavor.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 - 14 bars
- Category: Bars
- Method: No-Bake
- Cuisine: Dessert
- 2 cup gluten-free quick oats
- 8 soft medjool dates, pitted
- 6 tbsp coconut oil, softened or liquefied
- 4 tbsp maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 tbsp unsulphured blackstrap molasses
- 1-3 tablespoon coconut oil or cacao butter, liquefied
- cacao nibs and chocolate coated amaranth balls (shaved chocolate, chocolate curls, or chocolate chips would work well too)
- Process all filing ingredients in a food processor into a uniform mixture. Transfer into a parchment-lined rectangular container (I used my 12 x 4.5 " loaf pan, but anything of a similar size will do). Smooth out the mixture and press down with the back of a spoon or a spatula until the mixture is even and flat. Freeze for 1 hour.
- Line a flat cookie sheet you can fit into your fridge or freezer with parchment and place the sheet in the freezer for about 5 mins while working on the next step (this will help the chocolate to set faster and not spread out on you too much in the next steps).
- Melt your chocolate in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring for a while until everything combines into a uniform mixture (the coconut oil helps to thin it out, so use more or less as needed).
- Remove the frozen oat filling block from the freezer and transfer onto a cutting board. Cut into rectangles (or smaller squares if you prefer). Place a bar on a fork and dunk into the melted chocolate mixture to coat it. Wipe off any excess chocolate by running the bottom of the fork over the rim of the bowl. Place on the prepared chilled cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bars. Sprinkle with toppings if using.
- Place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 mins to set, and enjoy! Keep bars refrigerated until use.
Augusta Daley says
I can't wait to make these bars! Are the oats supposed to be cooked first or do you make the filling with raw oats?
LOVE your site!
Ana de Castro says
Hi! Love your recepies. Beautiful, healthy and yummy! Just my type of food. I will try to do this bars, but I would like to know if I can store the bars outside the refrigerator and for how long. Thanks! Kisses from Porto (Portugal).
Thanks so much :) Happy you're enjoying the recipes!
They can be stored outside the fridge if the room they're in is quite cold, but the chocolate will start to melt a bit otherwise. If you are going to keep them unrefrigerated, I'd omit the coconut oil from the chocolate layer, and if possible use melted cacao butter instead -- it stays much more solid at room temp than coconut oil.
Mike Smith says
Read this post about a week ago, and held back the temptation of commenting, until I've made it - which was on sunday! Gosh, I couldn't make it as nicely as you did – however, my wife did like it. I intend to treat her more often with these bars.
Hey Mike! Thanks so much for the feedback. So happy you liked them :) Being in the coffee business, I can see why these are a good fit ;)
Made these today. Fantastic and melt-in-your mouth goodness. I loved the espresso hint inside this luscious chocolate cover! Although, I must say, the hemp bars stole my heart...
Thank you, Audrey!
Aw, I know what you mean, Lana. And I'm with you! The hemp bars are hard to beat and I love them more than these. But it's nice to have variety too, so glad I made these first :)
Thank you for the feedback! Appreciate it ♥ Have a lovely weekend!
Nicole English says
I really need to make these Audrey. They look fantastic xx
Thank you Nicole! They are so good. Hope you get to try them out sometime :)
Anjali @ Vegetarian Gastronomy says
This sounds like EVERYTHING I'd want in one bite! I need to go find some espresso powder!
Oh, well I know you found that powder now -- no getting away from these now ;) Just kidding. Honestly, espresso powder in anything chocolatey is the best.
Melissa @ vegan does it says
These look so scrumptious and decadent! I'm one of those with alternative preferences, haha! I just can't seem to like coffee no matter how much I'd like too! But molasses is one of my favorite flavors and of course chocolate too! Using vanilla bean instead of the espresso sounds perfect for me.
Awesome! I often use raw ground vanilla to replace a stronger flavor when people are not into things like espresso, kahlua, etc. It works a treat and tastes delicious!
P.S. Typing this as I'm making your soup :) It smells wonderful cooking!
These bars are so unusual and they sound incredible, I'm a huge molasses fan and I'm never without it!
Thanks for weighing in, Sue. I'm a huge fan of molasses too. I think people many people are scared off from using it due to a lack of familiarity... Otherwise, it's the best in so many things!
Beverley @ sweaty&fit says
omg! these look like something you would get from a super classy, expensive cafe. I love how dense and chewy they look. pinning for later!
Thank you so much, Beverley! ♥
Tiina @myberryforest says
Audrey you've created something magical! And the photography is stunning:) I've been searching for a choco-coffee treat, I love the combo so much (I even add cacao powder to my cup of coffee:) I have this amazing mushroom coffee powder (with Lion's mane & chaga) which I think could be used here instead of espresso. Will report back when I've tried these:) Thank You for creating such a wonderful recipe<3
Ooooh, mushroom coffee?! Now I want to try THAT! I love chaga. Going to have to look for something similar now, because it sounds delicious ♥
Tiina @myberryforest says
The coffee tastes amazing, kind of a chocolatey deep rich coffe flavor:) I buy mine from Four Sigma Foods (I have no attachment to this company, I just simply love their products a lot..also their Mushroom Cocoa:). I will probably make a batch of these this week, so excited<3
Ok, now I double want to get some!! :) Enjoy them ♥
Nadia's Healthy Kitchen says
Wow!! Beautiful beautiful treats!! I would be so happy if I had one of these bars in my hand right now :D
Thanks Nadia :) I'm about to enjoy my last one and am already dreaming of the next batch...
Made these today. Fantastic! Thank you Audrey for sharing your creations?
So happy to hear! Glad you enjoyed them Donna. Thank you for the feedback :)
Succh an eaasy and conforting recipe! Love everything about it and will give them a try even today! Looking too good to let them for another time! Thans for the recipe, Audrey! I will come back to tell you how quickly we devored them ;)
Awesome, Natalia! I hope you enjoy them :) I've only got one left :S ...and I'm already wondering when I'm making the next batch ♥
This combo is pure perfection!! You know my love for molasses (and chocolate...and coffee), so I'm obviously drawn to this recipe!! I'm saving this recipe for when oats and I can be friends again. I love that there's espresso powder in both the filling and the coating, I can almost taste how rich and decadent these are! They're beautiful, Audrey! ❤️
Thanks so much, Mandy! Aw, sorry you and oats are still not getting along : / I hope you can bounce back soon. I know I did, so there's hope :) And these are actually surprisingly not very rich tasting -- they are light and sort of melt in your mouth in fact! But super good. Well, if nothing, I hope this gives you incentive to enjoy more mocha molasses anything ;) ♥
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
As soon as I saw the word "oat" in the title I knew I would be all over this one! And dates. And molasses. What more does a person need really :) I've never tried the molasses espresso combo, but just saying it sounds delicious. They look like candy bar meets healthy breakfast bar mmmm <3
Hehe, yes, that's a good way to describe them! :) Now what's this carrot cake rawnola?!?! ;)
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Wow - these look absolutely amazing. Like a made over chocolate bar in fact! I love molasses too and know what you mean about its distinctive flavour.
Thank you so much, Kari! And yes, molasses is such a nice way to dress up chocolatey creations <3 Massive love for that little bit of black goo :)
Bethany @ Athletic Avocado says
These bars are like a dream come true! Espresso, chocolate and oats are literally my life LOL!
Haha. I knew others would share my choco-coffee-oaty feelings :)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Coffee and chocolate....all we need in life! (Oats don't hurt either) ;)
Yep, pretty much <3