The thing we love about these creamy, nut-based vegan desserts? They're GOOD. Not "good for a vegan dessert" or "good for something made without dairy," but just good good. If you were to serve them at a party, no one would give them a sideways glance or shake their fist at you for serving them hippie food. They're a dessert that everyone can enjoy: vegans, non-vegans, young people, old people, mimes, centaurs, whatever. These Mint Chocolate Chip Bars are for all!
For the crust:
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 1 cup Medjool dates pitted and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
To make the crust:
- Line a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it overhangs on the sides like handles; set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade, combine the almonds, dates, and cocoa powder. Process until all of the ingredients are finely chopped; when you squeeze a small clump of the “dough” in your hands, it should stick together. This can take between 1-2 minutes depending on the size and strength of your machine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and gently press crust into the pan to form an even layer.
To make the filling and topping:
- Combine the pistachios, coconut oil, water, cane sugar syrup, and ¾ teaspoon of peppermint extract in a high speed blender. Run the blender, stopping to scrape the sides if needed, until the mixture is completely smooth like cashew cream, adding more water a tablespoon or two at a time if it seems like your machine is straining. Taste the filling and blend in additional extract if needed. (If you add more water, you may need more extract!)
- When the mixture is completely smooth, pour the filling over the crust and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Pour the chocolate chips over the filling layer, gently pushing them into the pistachio cream so that they stay in place but are still visible.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil and place it in the freezer for about 8 hours or overnight until frozen solid. 15 minutes before you're ready to serve the bars, take the pan out of the freezer and let it sit at room temperature on the counter. To remove the bars from the pan, gently pull up on the parchment paper “handles” to release them. Slice into squares with a sharp knife and serve immediately. Store remaining bars in the freezer until ready to eat.