Making candy bars at home is much easier than you think! My kid and I are obsessed with making this crunchy, nutella-inspired vegan chocolate bar recipe.
If you're looking for a recipe that involves making chocolate from scratch, this is not the one for you. But if you want is an easy, delicious, crunchy, creamy vegan chocolate bar recipe, you've come to the right place!
My son and I love the hazelnut chocolate bars at one of our local grocery stores, but we haven't been able to get them lately. We decided to make our own, and y'all. It was so fun and so easy, I had to share the recipe!
If you have kids to entertain, this is a great way to get them into the kitchen. One thing I've learned about doing messy projects like this with kids: throw a towel down (one that you don't mind getting stained). That way, they can get chocolate all over, and cleanup will be as easy as this recipe was.
The easy way to make a chocolate bar
The secret to making vegan chocolate bars in a flash is to use dairy-free dark chocolate chips. No need to make the chocolate from scratch!
Sure, you can mix cocoa powder and cocoa butter to make your own from-scratch chocolate. But I wanted this recipe to be as easy as possible and use ingredients that you can find at a regular grocery store.
If you need help choosing vegan chocolate chips, I have a section below that will walk you through it. They're pretty easy to find, even at regular grocery stores.
Toasting the hazelnuts on the stovetop
Before you melt the chocolate, though, you need to make that magical hazelnut crunch. So grab yourself some hazelnuts, and let's bust them into pieces!
You have two options to break up your hazelnuts:
- For a chunkier bar, put them in a plastic baggie, then use something heavy, like a hammer, to smash them.
- For a finer crunch, pulse them in the food processor a few times to break them into smaller pieces.
Either way, you're going to toast those up quickly on the stovetop over medium heat. How long they need to toast will depend on the size of your pieces, but it should be around two to four minutes.
They are ready when they start to smell toasty and fragrant. They won't really look any different from before toasting. The main difference is the aroma.
Once you toast the hazelnut pieces, it's chocolate melting time!
What chocolate chips are vegan?
A good chocolate bar is all about starting with good chocolate. Luckily, there are lots of great options for vegan chocolate chips.
When you're shopping for vegan chocolate chips, just check the ingredients for dairy products. A good shortcut is to look at the allergy information, since milk is an allergen. If it says "contains milk", then you need to keep looking.
The warnings "may contain milk" or "shared equipment" are not an issue for vegans. These warnings are for people with a dairy allergy. They just mean that the facility where they make the chocolate chips also handles dairy.
I've found that store brand chocolate chips are often vegan. Here are some of my favorites (as of this writing -- brands love to change their formulas, so always check those ingredients!):
- Whole Foods 365 brand dark chocolate chips
- Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips
- Simple Truth Organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Trader Joe's store brand dark chocolate chips
Just check those labels, and know that you can always find vegan chocolate chips online, if your store isn't panning out.
How to melt the chocolate chips
For these bars, I'm using the same melting method that I used for my vegan chocolate peanut butter energy bites.
You've got options here:
- Melt in the microwave. Microwave the chocolate chips on high for 15-45 seconds at a time, stirring in between bursts of cooking, until they melt.
- Melt in a double boiler. You can read more about the double boiler method here.
Once melted, just stir the hazelnut pieces into the melted chocolate, and spoon into a candy bar mold. (I used this one.)
Chill the chocolate bar in the fridge for a couple of hours, and it's time to crunch!
How to store the finished candy bars
I like to wrap these in foil and store them in the refrigerator. They will keep for around a week this way.
You can also keep these in the pantry instead of the fridge. I prefer the fridge, because my kitchen is pretty warm, and the chocolate bars get too soft for me in the pantry. They will keep for around three days in the pantry.
If hazelnut crunch isn't your thing, there are lots of ways to customize this vegan chocolate bar recipe. In general, you need three to four tablespoons of mix-ins, like:
- Use other nuts or seeds.
- Try mixing in crunchy cereal or granola.
- Add a miniature vegan marshmallow to each square of the mold before you add the chocolate.
- Chop and add dried fruit.
- Add raw cacao nibs for crunch.
- Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over each bar before chilling for salted chocolate bars.
Think of your favorite candy bar, and use those additions as variation inspiration!
Vegan chocolate bar recipe
- ¼ cup hazelnuts
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- Either using a plastic baggie and a hammer or your food processor, crush the hazelnuts into small pieces (think the size of a grain or rice). Then, add them to a skillet over medium heat, stirring every 30 seconds for 4-5 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. They are done when they smell toasty and fragrant. Set them aside.
- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl (or use a double boiler, if you prefer). Microwave the chocolate chips on high in 15-45 second bursts, stirring in between, until they are fully melted. How long this takes will depend on the strength of your microwave.
- Add the hazelnuts to the chocolate, stirring to get a nice, even mix.
- Grab your candy mold. Then, spoon the chocolate mixture into the center of the first section. I've found it works best to start from the center, then smooth the melty chocolate out toward the edges. You get cleaner edges that way. When you finish filling the molds with melted chocolate, you can use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to clean up the edges of your bars. Repeat with the remaining empty sections.
- Gently lift the candy mold, supporting the center with your hand to prevent drooping. Place it into the fridge for 1-2 hours, until the chocolate hardens. Pop the chilled bars out of the molds, and store wrapped in foil or in an airtight container. They will keep for around 3 days in the pantry or up to a week in the fridge.
- It's actually pretty easy to find vegan chocolate chips, even at regular grocery stores. If you need help, see the section in the post above on finding vegan chocolate chips.
- My preferred way to store homemade chocolate bars is in the fridge, since they keep longer that way. In the summer, the bars will get quite soft, if you store them in the pantry, and that makes them very messy to eat!