I did wonder if these bars were just a little too simple to add to the blog, mainly because there is no cooking involved, apart from roasting the nuts. There is also little preparation come to that either. What they lack in technical ability required to make, they make up for in nutritional content and great taste. For those reasons, I decided they definitely have a place on here.
I have been making a version of these bars for around 30 years. I spotted my old recipe amongst my vast collection of recipes while trying to sort them and deciding what to include in the books. My boys loved them and often had one tucked into their packed lunch. They are quick to make when short of time and a great thing for children to help make too.
Years roll on, times change, we are now looking towards healthier food choices. Where once mine might have contained sugar, honey, and marshmallows, I wanted now to update them to a healthier, gluten-free and vegan version. Adding plenty of nuts, seeds, and fruit to bump up their nutritional value.
If you want to switch up the seeds and dried fruit then feel free to do so. If you do just keep to the same quantities.
I am a big fan of these types of bars and often I grab one while out, as a quick pick me up. It is only when I turn the packet over and read the nutritional label that I become horrified. Now, these are in no way a low-calorie bar, they are however packed with healthy ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit and nut butter.
There is always a plus side to knowing exactly what goes into what you are eating. I’m proud of these bars now, both crispy and gooey, they feel like you have eaten something good for your body.
Puffed rice and peanut butter bars
- Preparation Time
- Cooking & Freezing Time 25 Minutes
- Makes 12 bars
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free
- 150g rolled oats gluten-free if needed
- 40g puffed rice cereal, gluten-free if needed
- 30g mixed sunflower & pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 125 ml maple syrup or agave syrup
- 60g pitted dates finely chopped
- 70g good quality nut butter (no additives)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 30g dried cranberries or cherries
- 60g roasted cashews or almonds, very finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a square cake tin/brownie tin with two pieces of baking parchment, one going each way. Making sure some hangs over the edge to enable you to remove it from the tin when ready.
2. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and cook for around 12 minutes or until golden in colour. Remove and leave to cool chopping or blitzing in a food processor.
3. In a large bowl place the oats and the puffed rice cereal, mix around. Then add the fruit, seeds and salt. Lastly, add the cooled finely chopped nuts.
In a saucepan place the nut butter plus the date syrup, on medium heat melt together. Once combined add the vanilla extract or seeds, stir well.
4. Quickly add this to the dry mixture and start to stir together making sure everything is combined and the dry ingredients are covered.
5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly, with damp hands press it down. The best way I have found to really press this down is to grab a tin of beans etc and roll over the surface and around the edges. Not technical, but I find this works really well.
Place the tin in the freezer for 15 minutes uncovered until firm.
Lift the square out of the tin using the baking parchment as handles, then place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife slice the square in half, then slice each half into 6 bars.
Individually wrap each bar in clingfilm and store in a sealed tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. For me, I like to freeze mine, wrapped and stored in the freezer because they defrost so quickly. Can be stored in the freezer for about 6 weeks.
These can be a little delicate and crumbly when it comes to slicing them, even more so once you add the chocolate, here are a few tips.
- Score the chocolate with a sharp knife before cutting them.
- Use a very sharp knife to slice them.
- Make sure all your dried fruits or nuts are very finely chopped.
- You could also for a change make them into balls. To do this roll the mixture into small balls and either freeze them like that or either half the ball into chocolate.
- Quick tomato & roasted red pepper soup
- Maple & walnut buckwheat granola
- Basil pesto hummus
- Tried & tested BBQ options
- Smashed & roasted new potatoes
If you make this, don’t forget to tag me on Twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of the recipes. I would love to hear your comments too.