With the first semester of my master's course done and dusted, I've been quite lazy over the first couple of days of the holidays, not quite sure where to begin on my list of things to bake (which is quite extensive seeing as it's accumulated over the past three months!). Although it was a semester of long hours and hard work, it was the first time I actually enjoyed what I was learning and didn't mind too much waking up early before the sun was up to get to class.
Despite numerous classes learning about nutrition and food science, I can't say that I know nearly as much about food as I probably should, but one thing that has come out of all those classes is my motivation to try some foods/recipes that are somewhat healthier :)
A conversation over Rice Bubbles revealed that they were not actually puffed rice, as I'd previously thought, which got me thinking- what would chocolate crackles taste like if they were made with puffed rice rather than Rice Bubbles?
I got my hand on a packet of real puffed rice at the Korean supermarket, but never quite got around to making chocolate crackles as I found this recipe whilst searching for chocolate crackles which didn't use as much copha as the usual chocolate crackle recipes. It's somewhat similar, though less chocolatey, less crunchy and more nutty, but still very yummy, just in a different sort of way.
I realised afterwards that in order to substitute the puffed rice, you need to bake it first to crisp it up, otherwise it'll end up more chewy than crispy. As a result, my bars ended up being soft and chewy, rather than crunchy- lesson learnt for next time!
Chocolate, Almond and Coconut Cereal Bars
Recipe from Peanut Butter and Peppers
5 cups Puffed Wheat Cereal (I used puffed rice)
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
1/2 cup coconut, shredded, unsweetened
3 tbsp. brown rice syrup
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I doubled this as I like my chocolate)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate melting wafers (I omitted this as I increased the cocoa powder and was lazy haha)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line a 9 x 9" square pan with parchment paper (so ends extend over edges of pan). In a large bowl add puffed wheat cereal, almonds and coconuts; mix until combined.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the brown rice syrup, maple syrup, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt and sugar; just until sugar is melted.Pour the liquid mixture on top of the dry ingredients, mixing well. Make sure everything is coated. Scoop the mixture into prepared baking pan and press down firmly with a back of a spoon (mixture will be sticky). I found using a piece of parchment paper and pressing on it with my hands works great in pressing the bars.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.Remove pan from oven, press mixture down again with spoon until the bars are flat. Set aside until completely cooled.
- Once cooled, take the bars out of the pan by grabbing the parchment paper. Remove the parchment paper and place bars onto a cutting board; with a sharp knife, cut into 8 or 12 slices.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate for 8 second intervals until chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate in a sandwich baggie and cut the corner off. Drizzle chocolate over cooled bars. Let the chocolate harden.