Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and got some time to do something you love. I took two full weeks off and it was MAGICAL. Good food, lots of family time, and lots of rest. It was perfect. It’s time to get back to the real world, though! That includes getting back to the blog. I made this recipe this week as a result of a very hormonal craving and it is so delicious: Chocolate Peanut-Butter Crunch Bars. Vegan and gluten-free. You’re welcome!
When I first started this blog, my mom and I talked about some different ways of approaching a food blog. Obviously it was going to be vegan (and gluten-free by necessity), but what would be on it? It’s turned into quite the mix of stuff! The one thing I didn’t do, and kind of wish I had, was Menstrual Mondays.
We joked about how once a month on a Monday, I should share a recipe that I created as a result of my hormonal cravings. I still think I should do this, but it might only be every few months because some months I don’t have the energy. This month, I had incredible cravings for sweets (which is unusual cause I am a sodium gal all the way). I made these bars as a result!
I love them because I had all the ingredients on hand, and mostly always do. The only thing I don’t always have is vegan marshmallows, but you could omit those if needed. Anyways — these hit the spot! These Chocolate Peanut-Butter Crunch Bars are so, so delicious – I hope you try them!
How to make vegan chocolate peanut-butter crunch bars
These chocolate peanut-butter crunch bars are SO easy to make! Crush up some corn flakes and add some chopped up mini marshmallows. Heat the corn syrup and sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add the peanut-butter and cook a bit longer. No need for a candy thermometer, or to get the mixture boiling! I don’t know about you, but boiling sugar terrifies me.
Next up you’ll add your corn flakes and marshmallows to this sugary peanut-butter mixture. Your marshmallows may melt a bit, but thats okay (and actually desirable!) Then you have to squish this mix into an 8 x 8 inch parchment lined pan. Top with melted chocolate, let it cool, and TA-DA! The perfect sweet snack.
Chocolate Peanut-Butter Crunch Bars – Ingredients
Corn Flakes: These are the “crunch” in these chocolate peanut-butter crunch bars! If you’re gluten-free, make sure to buy certified gluten-free corn flakes! Even though they’re made of corn, they often have barley. I used the Nature’s Path GF Corn Flakes.
Mini Marshmallows: Who doesn’t want marshmallows with peanut-butter and chocolate? These are an unusual addition to the traditional corn flake bars, but I love it. You can definitely leave them out if you don’t have them though. I use the Dandie’s brand, which are vegan and gluten-free. I chop them up a bit, which can be a sticky process! I recommend wetting the knife you use, or wetting your fingers and tearing them in half works too (but takes longer)
Peanut-Butter: Chocolate and peanut-butter is the most glorious mix. I’m an “all-natural” (aka no added sugar/oil because I like the saltiness) peanut-butter kind of gal, and always will be. BUT, for these bars, the good old sweet, smooth PB with some added oil works extremely well.
Sugar + Corn Syrup: This is self explanatory. We want a sweet and gooey mixture to add to our corn flakes and marshmallows.
Chocolate: This is such an easy dessert, so there is NO shame in using chocolate chips to make the chocolate topping. Let’s be real, they work perfectly fine. No chocolate elitism here — use what you have on hand! I like to add just a bit of coconut oil to my chocolate when I am melting it. I think it gives it a better texture and look (okay, a tiny bit of elitism). You can totally skip the coconut oil if you want.
Want more vegan gluten-free sweets?
- Peanut-Butter Chocolate Fudge Oat Bars
- Double Chocolate Cookies
- Sweet Potato Spice Cake
- Jumbo Bakery-Style Cookies
These vegan and gluten-free Chocolate Peanut-Butter Crunch Bars are sweet, chewy, and crunchy! The base is corn flakes, peanut-butter, and marshmallows.
- 3.5 cups corn flakes (ensure GF if required)
- 1 cup mini vegan marshamallows (such as dandies), loosely chopped
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup white corn syrup
- 1 cup peanut butter (see notes*)
- 7 oz vegan chocolate (ensure GF if needed)
- 1.5 tsp coconut oil (I use refined)
Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper. Make sure you have some "flaps" as this will help you get the bars out of the pan later.
Place the corn flakes in a large mixing bowl. With your hands, crush them up a bit.
Take your marshmallows and chop them up a bit (halves are good!) It's a sticky process, and using a wet knife does help. You can also wet your fingers and tear them up, but that takes longer. (This step is totally optional, but I like the smaller pieces). Add them to the bowl with the corn flakes.
Over medium/low heat, melt the sugar and corn syrup in a medium sized soup pan. You want the sugar to completely dissolve, this took me about 5 minutes. Stir often and don't bring it to a boil.
When the sugar is dissolved, add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Cook a little while longer (about 3 minutes). Again, stir often and don't bring it to a boil. When this is done, turn off the heat.
Either pour this mixture into the bowl with the corn flakes and marshmallows, or pour the corn flakes and marshmallows into the peanut-butter mixture. Whatever is easiest.
Mix well. It's okay if some corn flakes crush more and if your marshamallows melt a bit.
Press the mixture into the pan. Use something (or just a spatula) to really press it in. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil over medium/low heat. Stir often and remove from heat the second every piece is melted.
Pour over top of the peanut-butter corn flake base. Spread the chocolate with a spatula. Then, tap the pan on the counter a few times. This will help spread the chocolate but also remove any air bubbles in the chocolate.
Let cool and place in the fridge to set. When the chocolate has set, slice into bars. Store the bars in the fridge, but let them rest for a bit at room temp to soften up before eating.
*I used Kraft Peanut Butter, the "original" kind - aka the kind with added sugar and oil. I think it works best here, but you can use any kind you'd like!