Friends, I am struggling to find the words for this post. My heart is heavy after saying a tearful goodbye to my wonderful Mother in Law this past month.
We are numb and heartbroken, but thankful we were able to spend quality time with her during those last few days. The stories shared among family and friends the past couple weeks have reassured us of the kind, easy-going, warm person she was.
I am fortunate to have many fond memories of my mother in law, but her baked goods are ones I treasure most. She had a knack for getting cookies perfectly browned on the bottom while still retaining their chewy centers and her banana cake was a downright dream. Anything I bake, no matter how good it turns out, won’t hold a candle to what she could whip up in the kitchen.
These crispy rice bars are healthy, packed with protein, and nothing like the kind of treats Jay’s mom would send home. But damn they’re good. Brown rice syrup and almond butter are used as binders and I added a healthy dose of hemp hearts for added texture. They are refined sugar free, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and perfect for getting a quick chocolate fix.
Although these bars don’t come close to resembling the cookies and cakes my mother in law would share, I’m still reminded of her when I make them. Food was just one the interests we shared that made our bond strong and while our recipes and techniques varied wildly, I’m grateful for the wisdom she left with me.
- 3 Cups Puffed Rice Cereal
- 1 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1/2 Cup Hemp Hearts
- 1/3 Cup Almond Butter Or any smooth nut butter
- 1/3 Cup Brown Rice Syrup
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup Optional
- 1/4 Cup Cacao or Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with parchment paper or lightly grease with coconut oil. In a large bowl combine the puffed rice, coconut, and hemp hearts.
Add the almond butter or nut butter of your choice, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and maple syrup, if using, to a sauce pan over and place the saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the cacao or cocoa powder and salt. Stir to combine before pouring the mixture into the bowl with the puffed rice mixture. Continue stirring until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Dump the mixture into the pan and press down to distribute. Refrigerate for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Store the bars in an airtight container on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for up to a week.