Happy Friday y’all! This Friday calls for chocolate in celebration of the start of fall and sunny weekend to come.
Continuing on with our superfood series, I have created this insanely easy yet decadent dessert. Who doesn’t like bars? They are simple, portable and the options are plentiful like Lemon bars, chocolate chip cookie bars, vegan cheesecake bars and these superfood rice crisp bars!
Last week we talked about the sacred cacao nib and how it reduces the risk of heart disease, decreases blood pressure effects and is a great vegan chocolate chip option. Well the cacao nib is coming back in this recipe and is joined by the holy hemp heart!
HEMP HEART?! I know, sounds a bit scary, but trust me it’s yummy and so good for you. Hemp hearts are commonly called hemp seeds or shelled hemp seeds. The hemp heart looks like a tiny seed with a mild nutty taste.
At Zest Juice Co., we love giving people who have never tried them before a sample when they are choosing their smoothie bowl toppings. Hemp hearts have one of the most concentrated sources of protein, essential fats (omega 3 fatty acids) and vitamins in nature. If you are vegan or vegetarian hemp seeds are perfect sources of plant protein. These powerful little seeds are also known to enhance the function of your immune system.
Here is a tip for those of you who get frustrated (like me) with the high prices of superfoods. This may sound odd, but I buy a lot of my superfoods at Marshalls, Home Goods and Tj Maxx. They have an aisle dedicated to packaged food products and almost always have amazing prices on things like cacao nibs, maca powder, cacao powder, matcha powder, dried coconut and coconut oil by brands you see in health food stores.
If you or your kids are allergic to nuts, hemp seeds can be used as a replacement in baking recipes, homemade granolas, or trail mixes! I fancy spooning a tablespoon of hemp seeds on my oatmeal and of course, smoothie bowls.
Ok, enough talk- let’s get into the recipe!
2 ½ Cups crisp rice cereal
3 Tbsp cacao nibs, plus more for topping
¼ Cup hemp hearts, plus more for topping
½ Cup pure maple syrup
¼ Cup natural almond butter (or sunflower seed butter if you have a nut allergy)
4 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ Cup cocoa powder, cacao is fine too
1/2 Tsp salt
1 bar 70% vegan dark chocolate
- Begin by preparing a bread loaf pan by lining it with enough parchment paper so that it runs up the side of the pan and set aside.
- Add crisp rice cereal, hemp hearts and cacao nibs to a medium mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix the three ingredients together.
- In a medium saucepan heat maple syrup over medium heat until it starts to bubble. As soon as it begins bubbling take off the heat.
- Add almond butter, cocoa powder, coconut oil and salt to the maple syrup and whisk everything until you get a smooth, silk texture.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the rice crisps and superfoods and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Spoon this into the prepared loaf pan and using the back of a spatula, smash the mixture into the corners and even everything out. Then using the back of the spatula or your hands press straight down (fairly hard) so that you are packing the mixture tightly into the pan. This will keep it from crumbling later.
- Now using the same medium sauce pan add your chopped dark chocolate and melt over low heat, stirring the whole time to make sure you do not burn your chocolate. Do not walk away from it because it can burn quickly! (I’ve learned from experience) You can take it off the heat even when there are some chunks left because as you stir the already warmed chocolate will melt those lumps.
- Once your chocolate is smooth & melted pour over the rice crisp bars, smoothing and evening out with a spatula.
- Now sprinkle more hemp hearts, cacao nibs and sea salt on top of the melted chocolate.
- Place in the refrigerator to set for at least one hour then take out and cut into squares.
- ENJOY! Makes about 8 bars.