Chocolate Puffed Rice Bars
These chocolate puffed rice and seed bars are gluten-free, nut-free, and naturally sweetened making them a great school snack for kids or a fun office treat for adults. Plus, with no baking required, you can whip them up in a pinch!
One of my favorite coffee shops in Ottawa used to sell homemade seed bars and I was absolutely obsessed with them; a combination of seeds and dried fruit mixed and pressed into a bar that was so addictively delicious. Although they no longer make them, I crave them all of the time, so I wanted to try my own version at home which is how I came up with these chocolate puffed rice bars.
What is puffed rice and what is it made of?
Puffed rice is a form of rice in which the rice grains have expanded in size and volume. Much like popcorn, puffed rice is made by heating brown rice kernels under pressure in the presence of steam until it swells, “pops”, or “puffs” up. Puffed rice is commonly consumed in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and South Asia cuisine in various ways, while in Western culture it is commonly used in breakfast cereals and snack foods.
Is puffed rice the same as Rice Krispies?
No. Puffed rice is unsweetened, puffed whole grain rice and is an ingredient used in the recipe for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. Puffed rice is used in both Rice Krispies cereal and Rice Krispies treats, however, both include various other ingredients including sugar, salt, marshmallows, corn syrup, vegetable oil, and more (1)(2).
What You’ll Need:
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these chocolate puffed rice treats:
- Puffed Rice Cereal: To give the bars an airy and light yet crunchy texture. Look for plain puffed rice in the cereal aisle of your grocery store.
- Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds: For additional crunch, some healthy fats, and a little protein. Be sure to use unsalted seeds otherwise your bars will be far too salty! Note, you could replace the seeds with chopped nuts if you prefer.
- Cinnamon and Salt: To help balance out the flavor.
- Sunflower Seed Butter: Sunflower butter helps to hold the bars together and ensures the recipe is nut-free, however, if you prefer to use peanut butter or almond butter you could easily use them instead.
- Honey: To help bind the bars and provide some natural sweetness. You could use maple syrup if you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract: For a dash of vanilla flavor.
- Coconut Oil: Some more healthy fat to help bind the bars and keep them chewy.
- Dark Chocolate Chips: Finish your bars with some melted dark chocolate for a delightful chocolatey finish.
A bar this size made solely of seeds can end up being pretty high in calories, simply because seeds are such a rich source of healthy fats so their energy content can add up quickly. So, instead of only using seeds in these bars, adding the puffed rice helps to increase the size of the bars without overly increasing the calorie content.
How to Make Chocolate Puffed Rice Bars
Here’s how to make puffed rice treats with chocolate:
Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the puffed rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
Combine the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sunflower seed butter, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well incorporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add the sunflower butter mixture to the puffed rice mixture and gently fold it together until well combined.
Transfer to a baking tin. Transfer the sticky puffed rice mixture to a square baking pan or brownie pan and press it firmly into the pan.
Melt the chocolate. Add the dark chocolate chips to a double boiler saucepan or a microwave-safe bowl and heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted.
Cover with chocolate. Cover the puffed rice mixture with melted dark chocolate mixture, spreading it out evenly to ensure all corners are covered.
Allow the bars to set. Place the pan in the fridge or freezer to allow the chocolate to solidify.
Slice and enjoy! Once the chocolate has solidified, slice the bars into 9 to 12 even slices and enjoy the crispy treats!
Tips and Storage
To Reduce the Calories: If you want to reduce the calorie content of the bars you can 1) slice them into smaller bars, or 2) replace some of the seeds with additional puffed rice.
To Increase the Protein: Mix a scoop of protein powder (vanilla or chocolate) into the puffed rice mixture along with the cinnamon. Note: This will change the texture and taste of the bars.
To Store: Slice the bars and place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I do not recommend leaving the bars in the pantry or at room temperature as the chocolate may soften and make the bars extra soft and gooey.
To Freeze: Slice the bars and place them in an airtight container, with a piece of parchment paper in between layers to ensure they don’t stick together, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
These seedy chocolate puffed rice bars are quick and easy to prepare and can be ready in under 30 minutes. Make them on the weekend and you’ll have grab-and-go snacks the whole family will love!
More Healthy Snack Ideas:
These chocolate puffed rice bars are a recipe for healthy puffed rice treats without marshmallows. These bars are nut-free, gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian.
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Flake salt, for topping (optional)
- Line a 9×9-inch baking dish with two pieces of parchment paper from side to side, leaving the ends long so they stick out the sides. This will help to remove the bars from the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients; puffed rice, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- In a separate small bowl, combine the wet ingredients; sunflower seed butter, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. If you have trouble stirring it, zap it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it and help it come together.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and, using a spatula, stir until well incorporated. If it is not sticking together just add an extra dollop of seed butter and drizzle of honey.
- Pour the puffed rice mixture into the baking dish and spread it out evenly with the spatula, pressing it down as firmly as possible.
- In a heat-proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water or double boiler, heat and melt dark chocolate. (You can use a microwave if needed, just heat it in 30-second intervals until melted to ensure it does not burn.)
- Pour melted chocolate into the baking dish to cover the bars, spreading it out evenly. Add a sprinkle of sea salt on top to taste.
- Transfer to the fridge for about 1 hour until chocolate has solidified, then remove from fridge, sprinkle with flake salt (optional), and cut into 9 to 12 even squares.
- The bars can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for several months.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 217 calories
- Sugar: 2 grams
- Fat: 19 grams
- Carbohydrates: 10 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
Keywords: puffed rice bars, puffed rice treat, chocolate puffed rice, chocolate bar with puffed rice