By Alisa Fleming
The key to these cohesive, no-bake crispy snacks is allowing the sweetener to bubble until it reaches just the right temperature.
Makes: 16 bars
Free of: gluten and all top allergens
- 2 cups (475 mL) gluten-free, allergy-friendly crispy brown rice cereal
- 1 cup (250 mL) pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) dried mixed berries or raisins
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) shelled hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp flaxseeds, finely ground (about 3 tbsp flaxmeal)
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) honey or brown rice syrup
- 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp unsweetened sunflower seed butter
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) allergy-friendly semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp coconut oil or non-hydrogenated shortening
- Line a 7 x 11-inch (for narrow, tall bars) or 9 x 13-inch (for wide, flat bars) pan with parchment paper or greased wax paper. Grease a mixing bowl as well as the flat bottom of a measuring cup or glass.
- Add brown rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, berries or raisins, hemp seeds and ground flaxseed to the prepared mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk together honey or brown rice syrup, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to bubble, insert a candy thermometer and cook until the mixture reaches 250-255° F. (this is the “firm ball” stage). Immediately remove from heat and whisk in seed butter until smooth. Pour over ingredients in the mixing bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Press mixture firmly into the prepared pan using the greased bottom of the measuring cup or glass. Let cool 30 minutes.
- Using the paper, lift bars from pan and invert onto a cutting board. Peel away paper. Cut into fourths each way to create 16 bars. Let cool completely.
- Place chocolate chips and oil or shortening in a wide, shallow bowl. Cook 30 seconds in the microwave on High. Thoroughly stir and heat 30 seconds more. Thoroughly stir. If chunks remain, heat 10-15 seconds more and stir; do not overcook.
- Dunk bar bottoms into melted chocolate and turn upside down onto a cutting board or wire rack to set up. If desired, chill bars in refrigerator to speed up the drying process. The bars will crisp up when chilled, but soften at room temperature.
- When chocolate is firm, turn bars right side up and drizzle tops with remaining melted chocolate.
- Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or refrigerate up to 3 weeks. If chilled let bars come to room temperature before consuming.
Alisa Fleming is a contributing editor to Allergic Living magazine and the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein Free Living, and founder of Godairyfree.org.