THE HEALTHIER MARS BAR
If you were a fan of Mars bars, you’ll probably appreciate these vegan mars bars. They consist of layers of almond nougat and sweet caramel encased encased in dairy-free chocolate, such a perfect combination. People often ask me if I eat everything I make, and usually I share most of the treats with friends and family, and just try one or two pieces myself (you know quality checks and all that).
But these bars on the other hand, let me tell you.. I just couldn’t keep away from them and definitely had more than my daily dose of chocolate while they were in the house. And in a house with three vegans, they did not last very long! But vegan or not, I’m sure you or whoever you give them to try will love them too.
EASY TO MAKE
These mars bars are really simple to make and are put together in three stages; a nougat base, a caramel centre and a chocolate coating.
1. THE NOUGAT BASE
Regular mars bars have a distinct nougat base. The main ingredient for this version of mars bars is blanched almonds. it’s sweetened using coconut sugar and the addition of almond butter and coconut milk add to the flavour and creaminess of the base layer.
Blanched almonds are regular almonds which have had their skins removed. This nougat part of this recipe calls for blanched almonds as the base. If you’re not able to find blanched almonds you can make them at home very easily. Simply add the almonds to a pot of boiling water, allow them to boil for 60 seconds. Strain the almonds and immediately place them into a bowl of cold water until they are at room temperature. Then drain the water and use your fingers to squeeze the skin away from the almonds. Blot them with some kitchen paper to dry them off before use.
2. THE CARAMEL CENTRE
The centre of these bars is a twist on classic date caramel. I use a lot of different variations of date caramel in my recipes, and you’d be surprised how much you can vary the flavours and textures by adding different ingredients. The almond butter and coconut milk make this version perfectly creamy and soft while complimenting the almond flavour of the nougat layer.
3. THE CHOCOLATE COATING
For the chocolate coating, I used store bought vegan-friendly “milk” chocolate, which can be found widely available these days. You could also use dark chocolate, which is often times dairy-free by default, just be sure to check the labels!
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and have a bit more time on your hands, why not try making your own dairy-free chocolate from scratch? Check out my recipe for homemade dairy-free coconut milk chocolate.
UPDATE: Do not directly dip the bars in the melted chocolate as this may encourage the filling to melt. Instead, carefully hold sit each bar on top of a fork and spoon the melted chocolate over the top and around the sides.
HOW TO STORE THEM
I must admit, storing these chocolate treats in the house during a lockdown and managing not to eat them all in one day has proven to be a challenge!
When they’re not in your mouth, these bars need to be chilled because these bars have a soft centre. You can of course keep them in the fridge but I think that they taste best when stored in the freezer, as the inside doesn’t freeze but the outer chocolate shell becomes crisp (think biting into a magnum ice-cream that has a mars bar’s filling!).
My next plan for these vegan mars bars is to remake them with an ice-cream layer in the middle, hello summer. So make sure you stay tuned for that one, which will likely be in the near future cos the suns been out blazing here lately.
WHY MAKE THIS RECIPE?
- Plant-based and vegan-friendly
- No fuss recipe
- Nostalgic remake of a classic candy bar
- Easy to make
- Minimal ingredients
- Free from any animal derived products
MORE VEGAN CANDY BAR RECIPES
Vegan Mars Bars
- 1 ¼ cups blanched almonds
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 5 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tbsp coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp chilled coconut milk from a can * see notes
- 12 medjool dates pitted
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 240g vegan-friendly chocolate
- Add the blanched almonds, coconut sugar and salt to your food processor and blitz to a fine crumb consistency.
- Add the almond butter, vanilla extract and cacao powder and blend for another minute or so to combine.
- Lastly, add the milk and chilled coconut milk from the top of the can to the mix and blend for about 30 seconds to combine.
- Line the bottom of a baking dish (7’ x 11’) with parchment paper. Press the mixture into the base of the pan using a flat bottomed glass. Set aside in the freezer while you prepare the caramel layer.
- For the caramel, add all of the ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Spread the caramel out evenly over the base using a spatula.
- Place in the freezer to set for at least 6 hours or overnight if possible.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, make sure it doesn’t get too hot as this will melt the bars, so you just want to heat it enough to melt the chocolate.
- Take the mars slab out of the baking tray and cut into 14-16 bars.
- Carefully hold sit each bar on top of a fork and spoon the melted chocolate over the top and around the sides.
- Sit the chocolate covered bars on a sheet of parchment paper and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes before serving.
- Chilled canned coconut milk: place a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The cream will separate to the top of the can once chilled. Use the thick cream from the top of the can for this recipe.