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Chocolate Nut Butter Puffed Quinoa Squares

Okay... Getting these made was a lot tougher than actually making them. Let me explain. Why is puffed quinoa so difficult to find?!?! Granted, I do not currently live in the health food or cultural epicenter of the world, but still. After going to multiple stores I had some ordered from What a product of my generation I am. Ha. Making something like this (puffed quinoa treats) was one of the first concepts I dog eared when I first decided to "eat clean". And although this recipe does technically fall into that realm, there is 1/2 a cup of maple syrup in it... So there is definitely some sugar. It wouldn't be a stretch to call them protein bars though since they're filled with almonds, quinoa and nut butter. So go ahead and justify that little bit of sugar under the pretense of protein bars. I won't judge you. Not even a little bit. In fact, I'm snacking on some right now. ;)

Ingredients: 1 6.25 oz bag of puffed quinoa 1 cup coarsely shopped almonds 1/2 cup of maple syrup 1/3 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder 1 cup chocolate nut butter (Mine was hazelnut chocolate. And make sure there are no refined sugars or other artificial ingredients.) 1/4 peanut butter (or any other creamy, sticky nut butter)

Instructions: 1. In a sauce pan, combine the chocolate nut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil. On a low heat, stir until everything is melted. 2. Once melted, add the cocoa powder and stir again. 3. Empty the bag of puffed quinoa and your chopped almonds into a mixing bowl. 4. Pour the chocolate mixture over and add a 1/4 cup of peanut butter. 5. I started mixing everything with a spatula and quickly removed my rings and did it by hand instead. Sometimes its just easier. 6. Once everything is mixed, lay out a sheet of wax paper and empty the bowl onto the paper. 7. Spread it out and press it down into a large rectangle. Mine was between 1/2" and 1" thick. 8. Place this on a cookie sheet and move it into the freezer. Allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes before cutting into pieces. 9. Return the pieces into a lidded storage container and store in the freezer for future eating pleasure. Enjoy!

Follow up note: So I was a little bit sad when I cut it into bars and a few pieces of the quinoa/chocolate pieces crumbled away. So I dumped the extra into the container so that I didn't waste it. Well, it turns out that it makes a wonderful topping to your favorite dairy free almond or coconut milk ice cream. :)

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