Crunch Candy Bars

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Spring is in the air! Here’s a sweet, adorable treat for you to share with family and friends. They would be especially cute at your Easter brunch table. I was inspired by these Homemade Twix Bars over at the phenomenal vegan blog Oh She Glows. Angela Liddon dreams up the most amazing, decadent and yet still healthful creations and you will get lost in her 500+ vegan recipes. Please go check it out!

I’m calling my version “Crunch Candy Bars” and they are a trifecta of yummy goodness with a crispy brown rice layer topped with a layer of creamy almond butter caramel and crowned with a layer of crisp chocolate. Toasted coconut provides the perfect garnish. I took a page from Angela at Oh She Glows and decided to individually wrap my candy bars. I chose squares of parchment with a sweet, yellow raffia ribbon.

This recipe makes a 9 x 13 inch pan which yields about 28 bars. But you can choose to slice these into whatever size you like. Little squares would be adorable as well! Feel free to substitute peanut butter wherever you see almond butter listed. My son has a peanut allergy which is why we are huge fans of almond butter but both would work beautifully!

For the crispy brown rice layer:

  • 2 cups brown rice crispy cereal (I used the Whole Foods 365 organic brand)
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tbsp creamy almond butter (not raw)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt if you’re using UNsalted almond butter. Otherwise, leave it out.

For the almond butter caramel layer:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt if you’re using UNsalted almond butter. Otherwise, leave it out.

For the chocolate layer:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Line your 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.

In a small pot, add the brown rice syrup, almond butter and vanilla, bringing it to a simmer while stirring frequently. Add the optional pinch of salt and stir well to combine. Pour the brown rice crisps into a large bowl and then pour your wet mixture over the cereal, folding it gently into the cereal until evenly combined. I find a flat wooden spoon works best for this.

Next, pour the mixture into your pan and wetting your hands slightly so they won’t stick to the cereal, spread the mixture evenly into the pan, pressing down firmly into an even layer. Place the pan into the freezer while you work on your almond butter caramel.

Make your caramel by placing all the ingredients into a food processor and blending until smooth. Pull your pan out of the freezer and spread your caramel layer over the rice crisp layer, making sure it’s spread evenly. Place the pan back into your freezer again while you make your chocolate and toasted coconut.

First, toast your coconut by placing the shredded coconut in a dry skillet over low-medium heat. Watch it carefully and continue to toss it in the pan until it’s reached a uniform, golden color. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small pot over low-medium heat, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil until blended but not yet simmering. Again, remove your pan from the freezer and spread your chocolate layer over the caramel layer. You’ll need to work quickly since the chocolate will begin to harden from the pan having been in the freezer. Once the chocolate layer is evenly atop the caramel layer, sprinkle your toasted coconut on top while the chocolate is still in somewhat liquid form.

Place the pan back into the freezer for 3 minutes and then pull it back out again and slice into bars. The reason you do this after 3 minutes is so the chocolate doesn’t harden to the point that it cracks unevenly when you go to cut it. After you’ve cut the bars, place the pan back into the freezer once again for about 10 minutes or until the bars are hardened enough to handle them.

Wrap them individually if you choose but continue to store them in the freezer. If left out too long, they’ll begin to melt which would still taste yummy but look a little less appealing. : )

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Happy eating to you all!

 

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