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Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

When I took a few days off last week, I completely forgot to bring healthy(er) snacks with me, so when I got hungry, I reached for the closest vending machine. I know, bad habit. The thing is, I couldn’t find a single bar that was 1) vegan and 2) healthy, meaning, for me, no white sugar or palm oil. So I decided to make my own Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars!

Think of these bars as a mix of Twix and Kinder Bueno. You get a crunchy shortbread base with smooth hazelnut “milk” cream. The difference between this and a simple date “caramel” is that I used hazelnut butter combined with tahini to give it a milky flavor. Adding cocoa butter makes the filling soft and creamy, with a pleasant melt-in-your-mouth texture. I only use shelf-stable ingredients here to keep the bars at room temperature for several weeks.

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

The shortbread base can be made in two ways: baked or no-bake. I tried both, and while I prefer the baked one, the no-bake version is easier and faster. Baking the base will give you a shortbread-like texture, a bit more crunchy and crumbly.

It requires only 5 ingredients to make the shortbread: oat flour, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond butter, and vanilla extract. Mix everything together until you get a dough, press it down into a baking dish and bake for 18 minutes.

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

The top layer consists of hazelnut butter, maple syrup for a caramel flavor, and tahini for a light milky taste. Then stir in melted cocoa butter to help firm up everything as it cools. I highly recommend using hazelnut butter. It gives the bars a nutty flavor that pairs very well with the chocolate coating. Hazelnut + Chocolate: You know what I mean…

Regarding the maple syrup, I usually go with Dark Amber because it has a more intense flavor and a thicker consistency but regular maple syrup will work great too.

Once everything is smooth and well combined, pour it over the shortbread base and cool in the refrigerator. After about 2 hours, the hazelnut layer will have hardened a bit.

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

When the hazelnut layer is firmer, cut it into 8 bars and generously dip it in melted chocolate!

I think I already mentioned this in a previous recipe, but if you want a thinner coating, you can “liquify” the chocolate with cocoa butter. To do that, melt the chocolate with additional cocoa butter; use about 1 ounce of cocoa butter for 10 ounces of dark chocolate. I don’t recommend using chocolate chips here; the cocoa butter content is too low to make a thin coating.

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)
Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

If you are looking for a healthier alternative to store-bought snack bars, this recipe won’t disappoint! They have a crunchy shortbread base, a creamy and melt-in-your-mouth hazelnut layer, and a crispy chocolate coating. Plus, they are designed to keep at room temperature for up to 3 weeks (probably more).

Let me know in the comments if you try this Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars recipe!

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)
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Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars (Vegan + GF)

5 from 6 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Delicious snack bars with a crunchy shortbread base, a creamy hazelnut layer, and a thin chocolate coating. You won't believe these candy bars are vegan and gluten-free!
Servings 8 Bars
Calories 314 kcal



Creamy Hazelnut Layer


  • 10 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 ounce cocoa butter (optional, yields a thinner coating)



  • Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Line the bottom of a 4×7-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Combine the oat flour, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Mix until you get a slightly crumbly dough. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press it down firmly using the bottom of a glass.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely and keep the shortbread in the baking dish.

Creamy Hazelnut Layer

  • Whisk together the hazelnut butter, maple syrup, and tahini In a small bowl. Slowly pour in the melted cocoa butter and whisk gently until fully incorporated. Stir in the salt.
  • Pour over the shortbread base and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the hazelnut layer is firmer. You can speed up the process by placing the baking dish in the freezer.
  • Run a knife around the edges of the baking dish. Remove the preparation from the baking dish and slice into 8 thin bars.
  • Melt the dark chocolate with the cocoa butter over a double boiler. Using a dipping tool, dip each bar into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped bars on a silpat or parchment paper and refrigerate 10 minutes, or let cool at room temperature to set the chocolate.
  • You can then wrap each bar individually with plastic film and keep them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. For a firmer hazelnut layer, keep the bars in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1 Bar (coated with dark chocolate) | Calories: 314 kcal | Carbohydrates: 22 g | Protein: 4.9 g | Fat: 23.9 g | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 12.6 g
Course : Candy, Snack, Sweets
Cuisine : American
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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Hey! These look divine – a perfect cross between the two chocolate candies I loved the most, Twix + Bueno! Can’t wait to try, but just wondering if regular coconut oil would sub for the coconut butter? Thanks so much!

These are so pretty and I imagine they taste just as good – if not better – than a store-bought candy bar! Love it!

Twix just got TOLD!

5 stars
These chocolate bars look absolutely amazing! I love the fact it’s vegan too – simply perfect ♥

Yummy yummy yummy!!! Thank you for this, I’m soo glad I came across your recipes via Pinterest!! You make it so easy to make, I love baking and making healthier treats for my family, but have limited time with two littles so your website is just what I needed:) It’s even nice without the chocolate layer so I make half of the batch without it

5 stars
Many many thanks for your recepies
This one was a killer!!!!

[…] probably know by now that I love snack bars, as you can see with my Healthier Chocolate Candy Bars or these white chocolate macadamia bars. These no-bake granola bars are soft, crispy, not too […]

5 stars
Wow these are fabulous! finally I found someone who is obsessed with hazelnut and chocolate as much as I am 🙂 Your recipes are unique and varied and I’m so glad I found this 🙂 This is the first of many of your desserts I will be making. One of the best dessert recipes I’ve made (and I have made many through all these lockdowns!) Thank you for your hard work and creativity, Chris

Hi. The recipe looks great. I want to make these bars but I don’t know whereI can buy hazelnut paste. Or maybe I can make it?


5 stars
These were so delicious!! I followed the recipe to a T and they turned out perfect! I had never had hazelnut butter and omg now I’m obsessed oops! I’m definitely bookmarking this one for a sweet little treat every now and then 🙂 Thank you for sharing the recipe and I look forward to more of your yummy recipes!! Happy Sunday!

5 stars
I love chocolate very much. Thank you for sharing. I’ll try this recipe soon.

5 stars
I made these and they were great, the taste is perfect. my only problem was the size of the 4×7 (maybe I did something wrong). If I do this again I’ll use a larger pan as it was using the 4×7 they were not at all like your picture much bigger and way to thick so I cut them into squares. As I said I liked the taste and after coating the squares they look good.