These Chocolate Crunch Blondie Bars are a super chewy paleo treat! The almond flour base keeps them fudgy and moist. Then top it with a layer of dark chocolate and a blanket of hazelnuts and coffee beans for the final touch.
For well over a month now, “grainless blondies” sat festering on my recipe idea list, like an itch that you just can’t scratch because short arm problems. I can’t remember how many versions my parents tasted while I was home for winter break. But none of them competed with my imagination, so the trials persisted until school picked up again. After three weeks I finally feel settled in my schedule, which means that recipe development is back on the table.
Just in time, too, because yesterday was Valentine’s Day which means…. ALL THE CHOCOLATE IS ON SALE! Yup, I’m that person who likes a holiday she doesn’t celebrate purely because it feeds into her love of cocoa. And I’m not ashamed to own it. (Along with a fresh stock of all my favorite chocolate bars.)
I don’t know about you, but when I’m involved in the process things taste better. True, there’s that satisfying snap when you break a piece of chocolate off the bar. And yes, snacking on it without any of the bells of the whistles is delightful. Except I want to do something, to say “hey guys, look what I made!” Fun fact– women historically felt guilty using cake mixes because they weren’t putting in enough effort. It wasn’t until brands like Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines changed their recipes, also requiring people to add an egg, that baking from mixes became widely accepted.
Don’t get any ideas though, we’re still doing things from scratch in this corner of the interwebs. How else do you guarantee there’s enough love in your homemade treats?
These Chocolate Crunch Blondie Bars are chock-full of chewy love, even better than I imagined. Start by creaming together your sugar and oil (both coconut of course, to keep dessert paleo, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free) with an electric mixer. Not that you’re not strong enough to do it on your own, but we’d rather you have the strength to lift one of these bars to your mouth, so just let technology do the work this time. Next comes a hearty splash of pure vanilla extract to play off the almond flour’s nuttiness.
I sincerely hope you hum “patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man” while pressing the blondie bars into the pan. You’re never too old for childhood rhymes.
Here’s the kicker. Don’t be (choco)late or you’ll miss it! The blondies taste great on their own, and if that’s enough for you, then by all means stop now. For as long as I can remember I’ve lived more of a “would you like some ice cream with your sprinkles” kind of life; my penchant for toppings is far from over. That, friends, is why I challenge you to…. drumroll please…. MAKE CHOCOLATE CRUNCH BARK ON TOP.
Boom. Mind. Blown.
This is when we’re piling on all that chocolate we bought (yay Valentine’s Day!) and raining down a crunchy blend of coffee beans and hazelnuts. Verdict after my first nibble? Holy cow, I just made something that tastes like Nutella if it ever starts adulting! Take it one step further and layer our chocolate crunch on top of those blondie bars chilling in the freezer, and you’ve raised the bar about five feet higher. Dessert just arrived at hella sophisticated.
This is where the real love is at. Go and get some.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- BLONDIE LAYER:
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup room temperature coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- CHOCOLATE CRUNCH LAYER:
- 6 oz. 80% dark chocolate
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- ⅓ cup dry roasted hazelnuts
- 2½ tbsp coffee beans
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cream the coconut sugar and oil together until fully incorporated, about 4 minutes with an electric mixer, then add in the egg and vanilla. Continue creaming for another minute.
- Mix in the almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Press dough into the lined baking dish, spreading it out into an even layer. Use the palms of your hand or a glass if you need to get it more even.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Using the flat side of a large knife, smash the hazelnuts and coffee beans into roughly chopped pieces. Alternatively, you can pulse them in a food processor.
- Break the chocolate into chunks and melt in the microwave at 30-second increments, mixing in between each. Once the chocolate looks smooth, stir in the coconut oil until no clumps remain.
- Remove the blondies from the freezer and pour the chocolate over the top, spreading it out to create an even layer of chocolate.
- Quickly sprinkle the hazelnuts and coffee beans on the chocolate.* Return the dish to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Finally, slice into 8 medium-sized bars.** Store them in an airtight container in the freezer.
**You may need to let them thaw a little first.