Raw Mint Nanaimo Bars

By Chef: Nicole Axworthy
Posted: June 26, 2012


Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Traditionally Nanaimo bars are an unapologetically sweet and decadent treat hailing from Canada. If you make the original version you would use a layer of graham cracker crumbs, a layer of light custard buttercream, and a smooth glossy layer of chocolate to tie everything together. Well, thanks to Nicole Axworthy we can leave those processed and less than ideal ingredients on the store shelves and instead pick up some raw cacao powder, cacao and coconut butter, dates, raw nuts, fresh mint leaf and extract, avocado, and raw agave nectar to make a version that will rival traditional Nanaimo bars in both decadent deliciousness and charming visual presentation!

Yield: 1 dozen small bars


For the base:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2/3 cup dates, soaked and well drained
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • pinch of salt

For the mint layer:

  • 2 small avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp pure mint extract (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

For the chocolate topping:

  • 3 tbsp melted cacao butter
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp raw agave nectar

For the base:

1) Line the bottom of a 10 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Be sure to leave an overhang, so it’s easier to remove the finished bars. Set aside.

2) In a food processor, process the almonds and walnuts to a coarse meal. Add the dates and continue to process until the dates are broken down.

3) Add the cacao powder and salt and pulse to combine. The mixture should stick together when pressed between two fingers.

4) Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and set in the freezer while you make the filling.

For the mint filling:

1) In a high-speed blender, blend the avocados, mint leaves, agave and mint extract until smooth. You may need to stop and scrap down the sides a few times.

2) Add the coconut oil and blend for a few seconds to combine. The mixture should be thick and creamy. (If your blender doesn’t move the mixture very well, try blending it in batches until smooth.)

3) Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the mixture on top of the crust, smoothing it out with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Return to the freezer until firm, at least one hour.

For the chocolate topping:

1) Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. You may need to warm up the mixture if the cacao butter firms up too quickly. You can do this by using a double boiler a very low heat setting to keep it warm while whisking, or by putting the mixture in the dehydrator for a few minutes.

2) Remove the pan from the freezer again and pour the chocolate topping on top of the avocado filling, smoothing it out quickly with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Return to the freezer one last time until the topping is set.

To cut:

It takes some practice to cut any kind of Nanaimo bars without cracking the chocolate topping, and the same goes for raw Nanaimo bars. For best results, remove the bar from the pan by pulling up on the parchement paper and set on a cutting board. Place a sharp serrated knife in a jar of hot water for several minutes, wipe it on a kitchen towel and then use light sawing motions with the knife to cut into squares. Warm the knife in the water as needed to cut all squares. Store bars in an air-tight container in the freezer.