Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Crispy Squares

Jun 12th

When faced with a dessert buffet, I often find myself coming back to the rice krispie treats. They’re just so chewy and reliable. Even a bad rice krispie treat is still really good. I’ve made these fancy ones and then later made these decadent peanut butter ones. These faux “Quaker Oat Bars” were akin to this new recipe, but not quite. When I’m sharing with you today takes the cake when it comes to the health factor. I mean, seriously, when’s the last time I actually put the word¬† “healthy” in a title?

When two tbsp. of honey is dispersed through 20 treats and they still taste sweet, you know you’ve got something special. The secret ingredient here is pureed dates – these bars become chewy, moist, appropriately sticky, and very sweet. Nuts, oats, and dried fruit add a hefty amount of fiber never before seen in a typical crispy treat. Try using almonds in place of the hazelnut if you can’t find them and feel free to sub any type of nut butter for what I suggest here (just an aside, my students giggle and make eyes at their friends when I say “nut butter”). Also, I found brown rice cereal at my local Giant but if you can’t find it and want to try this recipe anyways, just sub regular Rice Krispies.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I like a little dark chocolate with my coffee each morning? I recently read a study that when people start their day off with a treat, they’re less likely to splurge later on. Maybe I’m on to something! These bars would be best suited as a dessert for your healthy friends but I’ve actually eaten two to three squares for breakfast every morning since I made them.

Healthy Chocolate Hazelnut Crispy Squares

Makes 20-24

1/2 c. unsalted, skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 c.  unsweetened brown rice cereal

3/4 c. old fashioned oats

1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1 c. dried dates, pureed in food processor until smooth

1/4 c. almond butter

1/4 c. peanut butter

2 tbsp. honey

1. Stir hazelnuts, cereal and oats in a large bowl.

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2. Melt chocolate chips in 30 second increments in microwave, stirring after each time.

3. When melted add dates, honey, and nut butter. Stir to mostly combine. Microwave mixture for 30 seconds and then stir until smooth.

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4. Add chocolate mixture to cereal mixture and stir until evenly combined.

5. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment or spray with a little nonstick spray. Press mixture evenly into pan with hands.

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6. Chill at least an hour. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge, covered, up to 5 days.

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