For yesterday’s Cordata recipe demo, I wanted something tasty and sweet. Our annual staff party was Friday night (a Co-op Prom!), and I knew that I would want to have something easy to prepare because I would be doing my own preparations at home that evening. I came across a post from Amy Green’s blog Simply Sugar and Gluten Free – No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, and I knew I had found a winner.
Amy uses only unrefined sugars in her recipes, and I have kept my eye out for something that used coconut palm sugar. We started carrying it at the Co-op a little while ago, but I hadn’t used it in a recipe yet. Coconut sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm, and is a low-glycemic sugar (it has a glycemic index of 35, which is equal to figs, quinoa and wild rice). It is gaining popularity as an alternative to agave syrup (although this recipe calls for both).
I of course made a few artistic changes to the recipe to suit what I had in my pantry. I used Republica Del Cacao‘s organic 75% cacao chocolate chips (in bulk!) in place of the carob chips in the original recipe (you know I’m a sucker for dark chocolate). We do carry unsweetened carob chips in bulk, so if you are looking for the lowest sugar level possible, give those a try (we also have grain sweetened carob chips). I also used my favorite Santa Cruz dark roasted crunchy peanut butter in place of the smooth peanut butter in the original recipe – just make sure the peanut butter you use has no sugar, as it is commonly added to most conventional brands of peanut butter. Nature’s Path GF Corn Flakes and Puffed Rice worked really well in this recipe as well. They are headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, a short 25 mile jaunt across the border, and are produced locally in Blaine (just down the road from my dad’s house!) as well as in Delta, BC (which is also in the lower BC mainland).
The bars were very easy to make, and turned out great. The NP corn flakes gave them a satisfying crunch, and they were very popular with customers. I love recipes that you can adapt to what you already have in your cupboard, and this is another gem! They remind me of my granola bar recipe ingredient wise, but end up tasting very different. Enjoy!
No Bake Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
For the chocolate filling:
- 2 T organic unsalted butter (or organic shortening)
- 7 oz unsweetened carob or dark chocolate chips
- 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
- ¾ t vanilla extract (use high quality vanilla if using carob)
For the crunchy bit:
- 2 ½ c GF corn flakes, lightly crushed
- 1 ½ c GF puffed rice cereal
- ¾ c peanut butter (unsweetened)
- ¼ c agave nectar
- ¼ c coconut palm sugar
- 1 ½ T organic unsalted butter (or margarine)
- Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (let the edges hang over the side). Lightly mist with cooking spray.
- Put 2 T butter (or shortening) in the bottom of a glass or stainless steel bowl (that will fit snugly on top of a saucepan) or in the top of a double boiler. Top with carob/chocolate chips, chopped baking chocolate, and vanilla. Bring an inch of water to a boil and place the bowl on top of the pot. Turn off burner. Let sit until the mixture melts, stirring occasionally.
- Put the corn flakes and rice cereals in a large bowl.
- Put the peanut butter, agave, palm sugar, and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over cereals and stir until coated.
- Press half of the cereal mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Spread with the melted chocolate mixture. Top with the remaining cereal mixture, pressing them into the chocolate mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate until set, about one hour. Cut into desired size with a sharp chef’s knife.