Imagine if a certain chocolate covered peanut butter cup had a love affair with a crunch bar, and they had a less-processed and naturally sweetened child. That would be these crunchy peanut butter chocolate quinoa bars, which combine two of my favorite childhood candies into one delicious and more nourishing treat. Put them on your (bake-free) baking list this week to get you through to the long weekend.
These bars are quick and easy to make and contain ingredients I always have in my pantry. Now, I am aware my pantry may be unique in that it always has puffed quinoa in it. I bought it on a whim last year and haven’t stopped restocking, because I love the crunch it adds to granola, cereal, cookies or salads. I highly recommend giving it a try. But fear not! You can make these bars with crisp brown rice cereal, too.
I store these bars in the fridge or freezer to have on hand for late afternoon snacking or post-kids’-bedtime indulging. They’ve been a staple in our house the last couple of months — a simple chocolate treat that always brightens the day.
Enjoy! Xo Maggie
Peanut Butter Layer
- 1 cup peanut butter (natural, unsweetened)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup puffed quinoa (or crisp brown rice cereal), plus more for topping
- 6 oz dark chocolate, chopped (I used 2 72% cacao chocolate bars; chocolate chips work, too)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- To sprinkle: Flaky Maldon sea salt and puffed quinoa
- Prepare a loaf pan (10 x 5”): rub bottom and sides with coconut oil, and cut a piece of parchment paper to line the pan, allowing the edges to hang over the pan for easy removal of the bars.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract and salt. Heat until mixture is runny and smooth — 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat and add puffed quinoa to the PB mixture. Stir until well-combined. Pour the PB mixture into the prepared loaf pan and spread in an even layer. Transfer to freezer to set slightly (about 15 minutes) before adding the chocolate layer.
- While the PB layer sets, melt the chocolate. To temper it, either melt it in a double boiler or in the microwave at 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until it is almost (but not quite) melted all the way through. Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Add coconut oil and stir until combined.
- Remove loaf pan from the freezer and pour the chocolate over the PB layer, spreading to evenly coat. Sprinkle puffed quinoa and flaky salt on top. Place pan in the fridge to set for an hour.
- Once the bars are set, remove from the fridge, run a knife along the sides of the bars and pull on the parchment edges to remove. Using your sharpest knife, cut the bars into 18 little squares (or desired size). Store in the fridge for up to one week. Enjoy!