Heavenly Crispy Dark Chocolate and Fruit Bar

Heavenly Crispy Dark Chocolate and Fruit Bar, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Behind every recipe there has to be a story. And behind this one there really is not much to tell. I was craving something sweet and chocolaty, and debating what to make, when I came across a recipe for vegan fudge that comes together in a bowl with no baking or complicated steps required.

I love these types of recipes where the most “cooking” or “baking” you have to do is melt some chocolate. My go to recipes are different types of balls, or bon bons if you like, and I made some using pumpkin for a nice Thanksgiving treat, some using apples, walnuts, and dates, and a recipe that made them taste like chocolate chip cookie dough.

This recipe takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of chocolates with chewy fruit and crunchy nuts that were so much fun to eat. For those of you who like your chocolate smooth, this may seem too weird, do keep en open mind. These bars have just the right balance of crunch, chewiness, coconut flavors, and chocolate that they will put a smile on your face in single bite. Plus: they have no added sugar, as they get plenty of sweetness from golden raisins.

For the  crunch you could use any mild tasting breakfast cereal, like crispy rice, corn flakes, or something like Cheerios. You can also skip cereal all together and go for some nuts. Chopped walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans would work really well in these bars; while cashews, peanuts or macademia nuts are probably not going to give you what you are looking for in terms of the flavor.

For the chewy fruit component, golden raisins work really well, but you could use dark raisins or dried cranberries. No matter which one you decide to go with, before you use the dried fruit, soak them in hot water for at least an hour. The raisins will be plump and juicy after soaking, so you will need to drain them, pat them dry, and they are ready to go.

If you are wondering how to melt the chocolate, you have two options: double boiler ad microwave oven. I use the microwave method where I combine the chocolate with a bit of cream or milk and microwave on high for 30 seconds. I take the bowl out, mix well, and put back for another 30 seconds. Mix again and repeat until most but not all (about 75-80%) of the chocolate has been melted. At that point the mixture has enough internal heat to melt the rest of the chocolate chips with constant mixing. This will give you smooth and well melted chocolate. If you are using a double boiler you will have to continuously mix the chocolate as it melts – don’t walk away! Having the chocolate go too far is not fun!

The bars are really mix, pour and let it set type of treat. I recommend that you line your deep dish with some parchment or wax paper, and that you let these bars set at room temperature, which will take a bit longer than if you put them in the fridge. You should store them in the fridge, in a container with a tight lid, but for the best burst of flavor do let them warm up just a bit before biting in. Yummy!

Crispy Dark Chocolate & Fruit Bar

What you’ll need:

10 oz. (283 g) vegan dark chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

1 cup crispy rice cereal (like Nature’s Path)

1 cup golden raisins, soaked in water, drained and pat dried

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons coconut milk, cream or any vegan half & half (I used ripple, plain & unsweetened)

What you’ll do:

  1. Soak golden raisins in some hot water for at least an hour. You want them to be nice and plump. Drain them, and pat dry them add to s large mixing bowl.
  2. Add rice crispies, melted coconut oil, and unsweetened coconut flakes. Mix well.
  3. Line an 8 x 8 (20 cm x 20 cm) baking pan with some parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl (or a double boiler) mix the chocolate chips with coconut cream (or milk or half & half), and melt the chocolate slowly. If using a microwave, check and mix your chocolate every 30 seconds. Pull the chocolate out when 75% is melted. Keep stirring and the residual heat will melt the rest of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the melted chocolate over the rice crispies, raisins and coconut flakes. Mix well.
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan, even it out, and leave in on the kitchen counter for at least an hour. This will allow for the chocolate to harden and settle. If you are in a hurry you can use the refrigerator – in that case the bars will be ready in about 15 minutes depending on how thick you made them.
  7. Take the chocolate out and let it come to room temperature before cutting and serving. These little treats are great on the go bites as well, so you may want to make a double batch!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018

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