Chocolate Cranberry Crunch Bars

Yield: 9-12 Bars or 24 to 30 Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts or cashews (see below for nut-free & other options)
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • (such as Dream or Enjoy Life brands)
  • 1-3/4 cups Erewhon Gluten-Free Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs, optional
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


Instructions

Place the nuts in your spice grinder or food processor, and whiz until they turn into nut butter. This takes about a minute or two, and you may need to pulse it, in the beginning, to ensure that any big nut chunks are broken up. It’s okay if there are still some little nut chunks remaining. This makes about 1/4 cup of hazelnut or cashew nut butter.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 1 minute. Whisk vigorously. If there are still chocolate chunks left, continue to heat in 15-second intervals, whisking vigorously between each session, until smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, as it will go from smooth and silky to scorched and chalky in mere seconds.

Combine the nut butter and chocolate in a large bowl, whisking until relatively smooth. Stir in the Gluten-Free Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal, cranberries, and cacao nibs, if using, until well coated. Finally, gently stir in the maple syrup until well combined.

Press the mixture into an 8×8-inch dish lined with parchment or wax paper, 9 to 12 muffin cups, or 24 to 30 mini muffin cups. I use silicone muffin cups – both regular-sized and mini – as they pop out with ease. You can alternately press them into cupcake liners for a decorative serving touch!

Chill for 15 minutes. If making bars, remove the batch with the parchment paper and cut into bars while still a touch soft. Return to the refrigerator or freezer to chill completely. To maintain their crispiness, store these crunch bars in an airtight container in the freezer. Pop one out when guests arrive or when the cravings strike!

Source: Alisa Fleming