I really do have an obsession with hazelnut and chocolate together. Really. I felt like making the peanut butter flax crispy bars but decided to experiment with some hazelnut ones instead and I’m glad I did! They’re sweet, crunchy, hazelnutty with the undertones of coconut flavor that just gives the hazelnut a little umph to say, “I’m here!” My personal taste testers all approved, including my cousin, Erica, who is as or more obsessed with hazelnut chocolate than myself! I first ran to the store to buy some natural marshmallows but unfortunately, the only place that has those is Whole Foods and I didn’t feel like driving there. I would’ve bought the regular marshmallows at the store but felt pretty miffed that they have to add Blue coloring #4. Is it really necessary to add color to get them to be as bright white as possible. Would you not buy them if they were white but not so bright? Out of personal defiance, I decided to just figure something else out. (I’ll bet made with marshmallow they would’ve been excellent also!)
Oh, and I am aware that Nutella is really not healthy, but if you read the About Me page; I mention I throw all that out the window when it comes to Italian foods, but otherwise, I made an attempt at making these as healthy as possible! I know I can try making my own Nutella, I’ve seen quite a few recipes but I just don’t want to. By the way, I’ve also tried many organic or healthier versions of Nutella but so far haven’t been impressed. I’d made it a little more hazelnutty, a little less sugary and milk chocolaty, and it’d be perfect. Grown up Nutella. So far, I don’t think anyone has accomplished that so I’ll stick with my kid Nutella- the real deal!
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup Nutella
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey
- 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal (did you know they also make brown rice cereal? yes they do! try that instead for a little extra boost of nutrition!)
- Grease 9×13 inch pan
- Toast hazelnuts in 350 degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes – allow to cool slightly and remove some of the skins with a paper towel, the ones that stay on are fine.
- With a blender or food processor (I recommend food processor because blenders are much harder to clean with nuts), chop until some are finely ground but some are still slightly chunky, like chunky peanut butter size chunks
- In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring constantly, heat brown sugar and agave nectar until it starts to boil – turn down to medium and keep stirring a few more minutes, remove from heat, add coconut, flaxseed and Nutella, stir well. Let mixture cool for a few minutes, add hazelnuts and chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, add the crispy rice cereal, then slowly add the hot mixture mixing until all rice cereal is covered (I use a strong spatula to mix and get bits off the side of the pan and bowl) transfer to the 9×13 inch pan and flatten. If you’re impatient like me, just throw it in the fridge to allow it to set – once cooled, it does not need to be refrigerated