Those of you who know me, know that I love to keep my body fueled with nutritious foods (and that I usually have to have dark chocolate at least once per day!). In the summer, I enjoyed making this recipe because turning on the oven during the heat of the year doesn’t happen too often in my house, and you don’t have to use the oven to make these! But with that being said, this is a great recipe to make all times of the year, as it’s a delicious and easy-to-prepare snack that doesn’t require too much effort or ingredients.
Before I share the recipe with you, I want to mention: I looked at a box of premade rice crispy squares the other day and the first ingredients were: glucose syrup, sugar, fructose, glycerol, agar and brown sugar. Those premade boxed treats are easy to buy, but they have loads of added sugars that are not necessary for them to taste good, or healthy for us to be eating!
In the squares made from the recipe below, the crunchy inner layer is made with whole-grain brown rice cereal and they’re naturally sweetened with peanut butter and maple syrup. The chocolate holds everything together and gives it the decadence that makes these so delicious. Plus, the natural sweetener of maple syrup not only makes these squares yummy, but it also has some pretty amazing benefits… It supplies six important minerals: manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. And, it also has 24 important antioxidants that can help prevent inflammation, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.
This quick and easy recipe is a favorite of my family’s and I hope your family will love it as much. Simply shop in the natural foods section of your grocery store or health food stores and you will find the ingredients for this healthier version of a well-known treat.
Healthy + Natural Chocolate-Covered Rice Crispy Squares
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (or you can substitute with honey instead)
- 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter (for peanut-free, use almond butter or a nut butter-replacement)
- 2 cups whole grain brown rice cereal (I use Nature’s Path brand)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup bittersweet non-dairy dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life! brand)
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, try not to use an 8x8 as it will make the squares too big.
In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, peanut butter, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt over low heat stirring occasionally until mixture is completely incorporated and smooth.
In a large bowl, place brown rice cereal and pour peanut butter mixture on top. Stir mixture until the rice cereal is completely coated. Transfer rice cereal mixture to a prepared baking pan and using lightly dampened hands or another piece of parchment paper, press mixture into pan. Be sure to pack the mixture down firmly into an even layer, you want it to be as tightly packed as possible. Place pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour until layer has hardened. Remove from freezer, use parchment to lift hardened layer out of baking pan and place on a cutting board (layer will be thin). Cut into squares about an inch or slightly larger.
Place chocolate chips into the top of a double boiler and melt with the coconut oil (or you could use a microwavable safe bowl and melt chocolate in the microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval until mostly melted). Stir until lumps are smooth. Allow chocolate to cool for a few minutes before coating squares.
Cover a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper – reuse the one you used to push down squares earlier to save on garbage. Place square in the bowl of chocolate, flip with a fork to coat, hold it above to allow extra chocolate to drip off from the fork, and place onto the prepared piece of parchment paper. Wiping the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl is helpful. Repeat until all squares are coated. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge or put them in the freezer to take one out when the sweet tooth is calling.