Superfood Chocolate Crispy Treats {gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free}

This wholesome take on Rice Krispies Treats gets sweetness from coconut nectar, chewy gooeyness from almond butter, and a host of goodness from hemp seeds, cacao nibs, and superfood chocolate. A gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free recipe that still tastes like a treat.

The first job I had upon moving to San Francisco was at a gluten-free wholesale bakery. The communal kitchen where the bakery operated was home to several other businesses: caterers, bakers, and charcuterie-makers, to name a few. My predecessor at the bakery, Megan, was an artist who still lived in the neighborhood, and one day she came by the kitchen to work on her latest project: a giant Rice Krispies Treat which she would shellack and mount on the wall.

Sadly, my shift ended before I got to see her creation, but I was left with a hunger for the infamous cereal bars of my childhood. Even more sad was the fact that I now eschewed marshmallows. The craving didn’t fade, and eventually, five years ago, I took a stab at a marshmallow-less (and slightly healthier) version of the bars made with almond butter, chocolate, coconut oil, and a combination of brown rice and maple syrups. I used organic brown rice crisps and topped them with chocolate ganache, and I made them vegan and gluten-free.

I called them Hippie Crispies.

The hippie crispies developed a bit of a cult following. They were named a Community Pick on Food52 when I entered them in a cereal contest. Bonafide hippies flocked to them in droves when we made them, summer after summer, at a music camp in the Mendocino Woodlands. They traveled to Tasmania where food blogger Dearna of To Her Coremakes them with puffed amaranth. And whenever I’m asked to bring a vegan sweet to a party or gathering, I whip up a batch or two and watch the hoards gather ’round.

When Aloha asked me to feature their superfood chocolate in a recipe, I knew it was time to revisit the hippie crispies. Aloha chocolate is sweetened with coconut sugar, which gives it a warm flavor, and it’s packed with antioxidant-rich foods like spinach, spirulina, coconut, cashews, and raspberries. You might think that all of this stuff in your chocolate would be unpleasant, but their superfood mix is so powder-fine as to be undetectable; it just tastes like really rad chocolate. The texture is softer than regular chocolate, giving it an extra-creamy melt. I found it difficult to go back to regular chocolate after the Aloha experience, and had to exert extreme amounts of willpower to save enough for the recipe.

But as luck would have it, I did, because when gently melted with almond butter, coconut oil and coconut nectar, it forms the base for these addictive bars. I added hemp seeds and cacao nibs, and topped the bars with extra Aloha chocolate. A quick chill to set the chocolate, and the bars are ready to be cut and devoured.

I brought some crispy treats to dinner when Aloha’s own Mimi (who is not only cute as a button but also knows her way around a kitchen [and a camera]) came to San Francisco for a visit. We ate vegan Mexican food at Gracias Madre which we chased with giant bowls of spiced hot chocolate before staggering out onto the street. We said our goodbyes and when I got home, Mimi reported that, despite our gigantic meal, she and her Lyft driver had devoured all of the crispies during the ride home.

I hope these superfood crispy treats become as big of a hit in your kitchen as they’ve been in mine. Like Megan, you may be tempted to make a pan as big as your wall (minus the shellack). If you do, give me a call.

Thanks to Aloha for sponsoring this post! All opinions (and crispy treats) are mine mine mine. Also, check out Sarah’s incredible Vegan Strawberry Coconut Chocolate Chip Ice Cream made with Aloha chocolate – pretty much the best ice cream ever, vegan or no.

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter, subscribe to receive new posts via email, make a donation, or become a sponsor.

Chocophilia:
Raw Chocolate+ Pistachio Butter Cups
Vegan+ Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies
Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecakes

Superfood Chocolate Crispie Treats {gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free}

Makes eight 2″ squares in an 8×4″ or 9×5″ loaf pan

Aloha chocolate can be ordered here or procured in select shops in New York (and more to come, I’m told). Otherwise, give these a go with another raw and/or naturally sweetened chocolate, or make the O.G. Hippie Crispies with regular old bittersweet chocolate.If you are very sensitive to gluten, make sure to get crisp rice cereal that is certified gluten-free; some cereals contain barley malt.Feel free to double the recipe and form the squares in an 8 or 9″ square pan, which is advisable since these disappear quickly. These treats are crispest the day they are made, but will keep refrigerated for up to a few days. All ounce measurements are by weight.

The bars:

1/2 cup (5.5 ounces / 160 g) coconut nectar (or 1/4 cup each brown rice syrup and maple syrup)
1/4 cup (2.25 ounces / 65 g) almond butter
1 (2.2 ounce) bar Aloha chocolate, broken up (about 1/3 cup)
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups (3 ounces / 85 g) crisp rice cereal (not‘puffed’ rice)
1/4 cup (1.25 ounce / 40 g) hemp seed hearts
2 tablespoons (.5 ounces / 15 g) cacao nibs

The topping:

2 (2.2 ounce / 65 g) bars Aloha chocolate, broken up
1 tablespoon (.12 ounces / 5 grams) cacao nibs
1 tablespoon (.12 ounces / 5 grams) hemp seed hearts
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt (preferably Maldon)

Line an 8×4 or 9×5″ loaf pan with a sling of parchment paper.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the coconut nectar to a gentle simmer for 1 minute, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon (be careful not to let it boil over). Remove from the heat and stir in the almond butter, chocolate, coconut oil and fine sea salt until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted.

In a large bowl, stir together the rice cereal, hemp seed hearts and cacao nibs. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture and pack the mixture firmly and evenly into the lined pan (damp fingers can help here).

In a small saucepan (or the same one from above, if you’ve scraped it clean), melt the remaining chocolate over very low heat, stirring constantly until just melted (be careful not to scorch the chocolate). Pour the melted chocolate over the rice mixture, spreading it smooth, and sprinkle with the nibs, hemp seed hearts and flaky salt.

Let the bars set in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the sling out of the pan, trim away the edges if you like, and cut into 8 squares or 16 thinner bars.

50 thoughts on “Superfood Chocolate Crispy Treats {gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free}”

  1. I love these photos and everything about this post! I got to try the first version of these so I can only imagine how flock-worthy this batch is! If I beg super nicely, can I please taste (coughmore thancough) one??? :)

    1. Alanna- check your recipe. I made it today, but the topping ingredients don't jive with the method- didn't realize this until I got down to reading the last part. I improvised, but you might like to edit it. Otherwise, a great recipe.

    2. Thank you so much for pointing that out, and I really apologize for the confusion. I had cut and pasted the instructions from the originals and neglected to edit in the new amounts. So glad they turned out and that you liked them regardless. :)

  2. Is there anything to use in place of the hemp seed hearts, I bet a lot of people can't have these especially due to the fact that hemp comes up on drug testing. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. This looks incredible! I think I've tried a spin off of your hippie crispies before, but I didn't realize you were the brains behind it. I love that! I'm excited to try both the original and this version. They look and sound divine!

  4. How I loved reading your background story: The oversized rice krispie as a spark to your own version(s) of the treat – very cool, could be from a screenplay! Your bars , though I usually am not cooking or baking vegan at all, look absolutely amazing, and so do the photos. Such a wonderful post.

  5. I remember when you made your first version, and this one looks nothing short of absolutely perfect. I'm dying to try some of the Aloha chocolate, what a cool company and great mission. I love that you added the hemp seeds too, a little savory sweet combination. Between this and Sarah's ice cream, I could just go for dessert all day. xo

  6. These are the perfect treat!! I have been lusting after Aloha chocolate since I first heard about it – I'll have to stock up next time I'm in NYC. In the meantime, I must make these (or at least, a close cousin with different chocolate) because they are exactly my favourite kind of deceptively good treat.

    1. It's quite lust-worthy! Deceptively good is a perfect description of these. Let me know if you give 'em a go! I bet you could put a rad spin on 'em. :)

  7. These sound amazing and the Hippie Crisps do too! Also: Gracias Madre was one of my favorites while I was living in SF! Next time you go, please have a whole bowl of cashew cheese just for me ;)

    Also, Alana of FFF and I have been trying to find a time to get together next week (I'm traveling to SF for work) and she kindly invited me to join y'all on Thurs. I reallllly want to come but it will depend on work things. In the event that it doesn't work out, I'd love to say hi IRL next time I'm in SF! xo

    1. Oh, you used to live here? Cool! I will eat all the cashew cheese… only for you. ;) I really hope you can make it Thursday! But if not, definitely next time!

  8. Just when I had decided I needed to cut back on the chocolate now that Easter was been and done haha! Can't wait to try this version out, I took the last lot of Hippie Crispies I made into work for a morning tea and they got rave reviews :)

  9. You know how you can watch those webcams that show you baby pandas or lions in the wild? I want a webcam that lets me watch you cooking. It's all so gorgeous!!

    (Also. MAKING. THESE.)

    1. Thank you! They were always a favorite of mine, too, though I only got them at friends' bday parties due to my health nut parents. (Oh no, I'm becoming my parents!!)

  10. Hi, these look sooo amazing! I’ve been obsessing about making these for more than 2 weeks now but am unable to find crisp rice ceral here in The Netherlands. Are they like a corn flakes but made of rice? Would you have another suggestion of what I could use intead if all else fails? Thanks you so much!

  11. Lovely recipe! I have made these twice, now, and they are always a hit. I haven’t been able to get my hands on some Aloha chocolate yet, but I have been using a local organic brand that seems to be working well – albeit without the ‘superfood’ infusion.

    For those of you in England, I have found Nature’s Path Organic Crispy Rice (gluten free) to be fantastic in this recipe as it is very sturdy and holds up well, giving the crispies a pleasant crunch, even after a few days.

    Bravo, Alanna! I am an instant fan. :)

  12. Incase you haven’t noticed, I’ve been going to your site non-stop for recipes over the past 3 weeks and (duh!) everything I make is fantastic. Just wanted you to know that I made a couple of versions of these now (including a double batch that I’ll be taking up to the cottage for my friends to enjoy this week). Thanks for the inspiration and always delicious eats! xo

    1. Kris, this completely makes my day – thank you!!! I want to know what variations you tried – spill it, girl! ;)

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