Nutty Bars!

My dear husband’s favorite junk food item has got to be Little Debbie Nutty Bars. He can eat quite a few in a single sitting which, if you’ve ever had one, you know to be quite a feat. Those suckers are like bricks in your gut. I’ll admit that they are pretty tasty. I haven’t eaten one as a vegan but trust me, I remember.

And so I’ve had it on my mind for awhile now to try and make a vegan version of them. Not to be healthier per se (although they are for sure healthier than the original), but mostly so I could dig in and join the Nutty Bar fun. Thankfully, I found a great little recipe for a vegan peanut butter nutella that I just took the cocoa out of in order to make a yummy peanut butter cream. I then found a great post on homemade nutty bars that gave me insight into the method for making them.

I then set to work to recreate the Nutty Bar and if you like the sound of that, then here’s what you need to get to work as well:

  • 3 packs of graham crackers (one pack = one stack of crackers in the brown wax paper wrapping)
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 6-8 oz vegan chocolate chips

I used Erewhorn brand graham crackers found at Whole Foods. If you are a strict vegan just make sure to read the ingredients on whatever box of graham crackers you’re looking to buy.

I then broke each graham cracker in half, length-wise. It helps to score the perforation with a knife or gently saw through it so the crackers don’t break unevenly.

Next, make the peanut butter cream. Mix the peanut butter, softened butter, agave and vanilla until smooth. It should have this consistency:

Spread a thin layer of the peanut butter cream onto a cracker, lay another cracker on top, spread a layer of cream onto that second layer, and then place a third and final cracker on top of that.

Spreading a thin layer of peanut butter cream onto the first cracker

What they should look like assembled

Next,  make the chocolate coating. In a small saucepan, heat the soy milk until simmering then add the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and uniform in color. If it’s too thick, add more soy milk a tbsp at a time and continue to stir until its a drippy consistency.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using two forks, dip each Nutty Bar into the chocolate, flipping and turning it gently with the forks until completely covered. Place each coated bar on the lined baking sheet. Using a knife, gently score the top of each bar in a criss-cross pattern to look like the original Little Debbies. : ) When finished coating all the bars, place the sheet into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to harden the chocolate. Please note that this recipe makes a LOT of bars. I think we ended up with 16-18. So plan to make these for a large group or cut the recipe in half if you’d like. They are okay the next day but really best eaten fresh.

Happy eating!