Pack up these nutritious chocolate and cherry hemp bars for a hike, or enjoy them as a simple treat. They’re an amped-up, antioxidant- and protein-rich version of a rice crispy treat. Recipe and photo from YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle* by Heather Crosby, reprinted by permission of BenBella Books, ©2014.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil, plus more to grease the dish
- ¾ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
- ½ cup rolled oats, toasted
- 1 cup dry cherries, chopped
- 2½ cups brown rice crisps cereal (not puffs)
- ¾ cup gluten-free, vegan chocolate chips
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- Grease a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Place sunflower seeds, coconut, oats, cherries, rice crisps, and chocolate chips into a large glass bowl.
- In a medium saucepot, bring brown rice syrup, vanilla extract, almond butter, coconut oil, and sea salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk often.
- Once boiling, pour over dry ingredients in the bowl. Use a silicone spatula to fold everything together until well integrated; chocolate will melt. Fold in hemp seeds.
- Transfer to the greased baking dish and use a spatula to really press mixture into the dish so it reaches all corners evenly. Or try laying a sheet of unbleached parchment on top of treat mixture and pressing down with your hands—easy peasy and less mess.
- Allow to cool, then slice into bars
- You can use a chopped gluten-free, vegan chocolate bar instead of chips if that’s easier to find.
- Try dried blueberries, goji berries, raisins, or cranberries instead of, or in addition to, cherries.
- Make them poppers! This preparation is a bit sticky to work with, but it’s worth it for fun bite-sized treats. Toast 1/2 cup of almonds and throw them in food processor, and pulse them into fine bits. Keep the bar mixture on the stove top over low heat while you work. Using your hands, pinch off a bit, drop it into a bowl of almonds. Sprinkle entire dollop with almonds to cover as much as possible. Pick it up and roll it into a ball. Cover with more almonds until outside isn’t sticky anymore. Repeat until bar mixture is all used up.
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