I’ve always had the opposite of a sweet tooth. As a little kid, I used to sneak sips of olive juice straight from the jar. I gravitated more toward taramasalata and extra sharp cheddar than Oreos or fruit rollups. My penchant for salt still disturbs many people in my life, including my brother, who has to avert his eyes when I’m applying salt at the table. Hey, it runs in the family! My grandma was known to salt everything from salads to grapefruit, and she lived to 92.
As I fall more and more in love with baking, I tell myself it’s just a side effect–you know, par for the course to sneak a spoonful of cookie dough here and there. But in the past two weeks, I’ve baked a chocolate babka, lemon poppyseed muffins, a grapefruit yogurt olive oil cake, peanut butter cookies, and a 3-layer strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. I suppose I must confess–my proverbial tooth is sweetening.
Good thing I have a gym membership!
These days, even when I get home from work exhausted beyond the point of forming coherent sentences, my mind is already mixing batter, taking stock of the odds and ends left in my pantry, envisioning the next sweet treat I can force on my friends.
Recently while scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled on a photo of Erin Ireland’s puffed rice chocolate bar, made only with cocoa powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup. I rushed to my pantry and whipped up a batch in 5 minutes. I upped the maple syrup to balance out the coconut flavor and (of course) added a little salt.
These bars are SERIOUSLY delicious and perfect if you’re looking for a fun, easy, kitchen project, no baking involved. Chances are you already have the ingredients on hand!
All you have to do is mix, pour, add toppings, and chill. I opted for toasted cashews, sea salt, and rose petals on one bar and toasted quinoa and puffed rice on the other. But really, it’s up to you! Get creative with any odds and ends you have on hand. I’m already scheming about flavor combinations for my next batch…cardamom pistachio? Hazelnut brown butter?
The rich, velvety, not-too-sweet base has a fudge-y consistency and makes the perfect canvas for flavor experimentation. I guarantee these won’t last in your freezer for more than a day.
Have fun and let me know what you think!
Recipe adapted from Erin Ireland
- 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup pure grade A maple syrup
- pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- For my take on a rice krispie treat:
- About 1/4 cup toasted crisp rice
- About 3 Tablespoons toasted quinoa
- For my rose-cashew bar:
- 1 teaspoons crumbled rose petals (found in bulk at most health food stores)
- 1/4 cup toasted cashews, roughly chopped
- Line a baking sheet, loaf pan, or any sized tart pan with parchment paper. If you want a thicker bar with a defined rectangular shape, use the bottom of a loaf pan. For a thinner, free-form bar, use a baking sheet.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup until smooth and fully incorporated. Stir in salt and vanilla.
- Pour mixture into your prepared pans and chill in the fridge for a few minutes (just to bring the coconut oil down to room temperature).
- Remove from fridge and sprinkle desired ingredients on top.
- Chill in freezer until firm, about 10 minutes. Break off a piece and enjoy! Store in the fridge if you prefer a fudge-y consistency, and in the freezer for a more brittle texture.
Little Sister Links:
- I made my first video!!
- Here’s my reading list for the foreseeable future…
- It’s officially Spring, which means…RHUBARB! Here’s some inspiration for baking with my all-time favorite ingredient. Rhubarb tarte tatin, anyone?!
- Planning a road trip? Keep this list handy for the best bakery in every state.
- Looking for an amazing food blog? Check out my friend Daniela, whose Mexican and Korean-inspired recipes are approachable, creative, and insanely beautiful!