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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Crispy Treats

Trail Snacks With Lentine Alexis

You know when you have a bag of trail mix in your pack and the chocolate gets a little warm, oozes into all the other goodies + transforms everything into gooey, perfect chunks of all the salty/sweet/favorite things? You want to be upset, but realize that somehow everything is made better because it’s melted into the same bite? That’s what these crispy treats are like. Only, these are intentionally good.

Most rice crispy treat recipes use butter and marshmallow to bond the bars, but these bars use a molten nut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil mixture. They’re vegan, made without refined sugar, and packed with ingredients to help you power up your hike, ride, or picnic session. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Crispy Treats

makes 12-16 bars

The recipe comes together quickly, with ingredients you *probably* already have in your pantry. You can substitute any nut butter for the peanut butter, and if you prefer to use brown rice syrup or agave nectar those would work in lieu of maple syrup. If you’re making the bars for young people, feel free to omit the coffee. When picking rice cereal, make sure it’s the crispy kind (not just the puffed kind). Puffed rice will make soggy bars here. Go for brown rice if you can find it – it lends a little extra protein and flavor to your bars.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, plus a little more for greasing
  • 2/3 cup / 160ml unsalted peanut butter or other nut or seed butter of your choice
  • 2/3 cup / 160ml maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. Kosher sea salt
  • 1/3 cup / 40g raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 4 cups / 200g puffed brown rice crisp cereal
  • 1 cup / 150g crushed pretzel pieces, plus more for topping
  • 2-3 Tbsp. espresso powder or finely ground coffee
  • a few pinches flaky sea salt (Maldon works perfectly), for topping
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, divided

Directions

  1. Prepare your pan. Rub a little coconut oil in an 8×8 or 7″x11″ baking pan. Line with parchment paper so the paper hangs over on two of the sides, like a little hammock.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the pretzels, puffed rice and cacao powder and all but 2 Tbsp of the coconut shreds. Stir to combine, then set aside.
  3. Make your peanut butter-maple mixture: Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, espresso powder and fine salt, and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
  4. Make your bar base: Pour the dry ingredients into your peanut-butter maple mixture, and stir quickly to combine, making sure you don’t have any dry patches in the bottom of the bowl. Then pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan and press firmly (using the back of a large spoon or spatula rubbed with a little coconut oil really helps). When the mixture is smooth and even, sprinkle with a small handful of pretzels, the salt and the coconut shreds. Press again to adhere the toppings to the bars. Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up, about 30 minutes, then then slice into bars or squares.

 

 Store the bars in a tightly sealed container in the fridge or freezer. Share widely and enjoy often!

Lentine Alexis is a former professional endurance athlete & classically trained chef. The former Culinary Director at Skratch Labs, she uses a real-food philosophy to create recipes for athletes and everyone looking to eat well and adventure better. Find more recipes and info on her upcoming cookbook for athletes at lentinealexis.com, or follow her @lentinealexis.