no-bake walnut “cookie” bars with homemade chocolate

I’m becoming a bit of a walnut fanatic.  They’ve always been a favorite nut of mine.  However, for some reason they always seem to just kind of sit in the jar I have them stored in.  I’ll take a handful here or there but not really do much with them in the kitchen.  But now I’m trying to give the almighty almond the back seat for awhile and showcase this buttery-rich, funky-shaped nut!

No-Bake Walnut "Cookie" Bars with Homemade Chocolate [2 ways!] // edible perspective

If you’re not a huge walnut fan maybe you will like them a little more with homemade chocolate drizzled overtop?  No chocolate chips here, just a few simple ingredients.

No-Bake Walnut "Cookie" Bars with Homemade Chocolate [2 ways!] // edible perspective

And while you may be thinking that this looks like another recipes for faux-Larabars, I assure you these are different.  I suppose the texture is somewhat the same but this recipe is not packed with dates.  Definitely much more cookie tasting, but with a soft + chewy texture. 

Besides the walnuts, I’ve also stuffed more Omega-3 goodness inside with ground flax.  The flavor of flax doesn’t bother me at all, but I know not everyone is a fan.  The good news is you cannot taste it in this recipe!  So I say, why not add it in?

No-Bake Walnut "Cookie" Bars with Homemade Chocolate [2 ways!] // edible perspective

I made two versions just for fun and loved them both.  One has oats for a bit of a heartier texture and oatmeal-cookie taste.  The other is completely grain-free.  There are also two recipes for making the homemade chocolate.

Double win!

No-Bake Walnut "Cookie" Bars with Homemade Chocolate [2 ways!] // edible perspective

Print this!

adapted from: Vanilla Walnut Shortbread, via Shutterbean

chocolate topping inspired by: No-Bake Layer Bars, via (never home)maker

No-Bake Walnut “Cookie” Bars gluten-free, grain-free, vegan option // yields 1, 8x8 pan of bars

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or brown rice syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 + 1/16 teaspoon almond extract

*The almond extract really helps give these a cookie-like flavor, just be careful not to add more than the specified amount!  It’s quite potent!

  1. Place all ingredients [adding honey last] in your large food processor and process for 30 seconds – 1 minute, depending on how smooth you want your bars.  The dough should easily stick together when pressed between your fingers.  [Refer to photo 1.]  The longer you process the oilier they will become.
  2. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and place the dough inside.  Press firmly with your hands until you’ve evenly filled the pan, then place another sheet of parchment overtop and smooth out the surface with your hands.  Or, you can also form into balls and then flatten into a circular cookie-shape.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet before freezing.
  3. Freeze for about 30 minutes, then remove the parchment from the pan and cut into 2x2-inch bars. 
  4. Keep individually wrapped in plastic-wrap and store in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 weeks [possibly longer].

notes: I like a heartier/crunchier texture that is less oily, so I process on the shorter side.  However, the photos in this post show what they look like if you process for closer to 1 minute.  If your bars have become too oily feel free to stir in shredded coconut or partially-ground rolled oats to thicken them up.  Do not wrap the bars in foil.

No-Bake Walnut “Cookie” Oat Bars gluten-free, vegan option // yields 1, 8x8 pan of bars

  • 2 cups raw walnuts
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flax meal
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or brown rice syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 + 1/16 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Follow the same directions as above using this ingredient list.  Again, note that the longer you process the bars the oilier they will become.  Press into bars in a pan or roll into balls and flatten into circular cookies.  Best kept stored in the fridge.

Homemade Chocolate [maple sweetened] gluten-free, vegan // yields ~1/4 cup

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Stir all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Let sit on the counter until starting to thicken a bit but still pourable.
  3. Drip or spread over the chilled bars [pre-cutting works best] and then freeze the bars for another 15 – 30 minutes.  Cut bars, wrap individually, and keep stored in the fridge.

*Chocolate softens easily around 70* F.  Best if kept in the fridge until just before eating.

Homemade Chocolate [powdered sugar sweetened] gluten-free, vegan // yields ~1/3 cup

  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Follow the same directions as above.

*This chocolate recipe is a bit sturdier and won’t melt quite as easily.

To make powdered sugar at home:

  1. Blend 1c sucanat, coconut sugar, or pure cane sugar in a blender, with 1T arrowroot starch [or cornstarch] until soft and powdered.  The starch prevents the powdered sugar from caking + helps to thicken when making glazes.  Store in a sealed jar.  *Note that using sucanat or coconut sugar will lend a deep, caramel flavor to the recipe.

No-Bake Walnut "Cookie" Bars with Homemade Chocolate [2 ways!] // edible perspective

Enjoy the weekend and hopefully a homemade treat or two!

Ashley