I love nutty snacks that I can pick at all day long with a bite here and there and still feel good about it even if maybe I over-indulged a bit too much. Which is sure to happen with me! I bought some quinoa flakes awhile back but still hadn’t done anything with them. They’ve been at the back of my mind for quite some time and then the other day I stumbled on Oh She Glow’s blog again (it’s a great one! Good for a kick in the butt if you’re feeling like you need to eat healthier or work out but can’t get motivated). Speaking of which, I have worked out once in the last couple of weeks and intend to work out later. I feel much better when I do but it’s just so hard with a cute little toddler that I have to leave to workout. Plus, he’s a work out just to be around! Anyway, I saw one of her recipes for Raw Granola Bars and figured out exactly what I wanted to make with the quinoa flakes! The granola bars look fantastic – and I’ve made similar bars in the past – this time, I felt like changing it up and using quinoa flakes for some added protein! My 2 year old son is basically a vegetarian – and it’s hard to get him to eat meat, so any protein source that he’ll eat is a huge bonus for me!
This recipe is based off of those granola bars but also completely changed. I used brown rice syrup because trying different syrup sources (agave nectar and fruit syrup) for me tends to lead to crumbly bars. You can find my flax peanut butter crispy bars using brown rice syrup here. I then added two different types of sugar to break-up the brown rice syrup flavor a little – 1/8 cup sucanat and 1/8 cup ZSweet (erythritol). I think the next time I’ll just use 1/8 cup of organic white or brown sugar – as the sucanat lends a molasses flavor to it and the bars could be a tad less sweet, though they’re great as-is. Maybe adding 3/4 cup of brown rice syrup rather than 1 would work as well… you need to make sure it sticks together but of course to be more healthy it would be best to use less sugar! Using peanut butter rather than almond butter and hazelnuts would cover the taste of the brown rice syrup, but I wanted hazelnut and chocolate today:) The almond butter just adds some nuttiness and more of a binding agent without overwhelming the flavor of the hazelnuts. I like the addition of coconut with hazelnut and chocolate, and you can see that here with my Nutella Crispy Bars:)
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/8 cup erythritol
- 1/8 cup sucanat (or any type of sugar/sweetener)
- 2 1/2 TB coconut oil (2 TB would work as well, but the almond butter I used was pretty dry, so it needed a little more more moisture)
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 3/4 cups roasted hazelnuts, ground in food processor to a meal with some chunks
- 2 cups quinoa flakes
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (I ground them up to small chunks so my 2 year old can it these without choking)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cups chocolate chips – I used 58% here, but use what you feel most comfortable with.
- Roast the hazelnuts in a pre-heated 350 oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned. No need to remove skins – grind in a food processor until some small chunks are left but it’s mostly a meal/flour consistency
- Heat the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, almond butter and sugars over medium-high heat until bubbles start to form, stirring constantly for a few minutes and then remove from heat. You could probably skip this step, but I think it’s just much much easier to get everything mixed well this way. Add the hazelnuts
- In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients except for chocolate chips, pour the wet into the dry and mix well. Allow to cool a little more and then add chocolate chips. I got a little excited and added those chips a little early so they melted a bit:) No big deal.
- Grease a 12×8″ pan – or whatever size you want, with coconut oil – I found some great coconut oil spray and used it because I’m lazy. It would be cheaper and almost as easy just to grease it with coconut oil! Add the quinoa mixture and flatten with a spatula.
- Refrigerate until bars set. Yum yum yum!!!!