Friday, 1 June 2012

Dark Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Bars

I'm so sorry for not posting this past week. I really don't know why I  haven't - I have been home and had nothing to do. I've officially finished uni for this semester! Three more semesters to go - then it's real life time. Ugh, too scary to contemplate just yet.

I was a little sick, but mostly just lazy this past week. I have not exercised in days and eaten cereal at least three times a day. One day I actually succeeded in eating breakfast food all day. So proud of myself.

Has anyone watched Once Upon a Time? Man that show is brilliant. Seriously, it is amazing. I always hated Snow White and Prince Charming, but this story was brilliant. Also brilliant is the show Melissa and Joey - which I just discovered and have succeeded in watching the entire season 1 and the two eps of season 2 in two days. Yes, I am that good at watching tv. I started watching it because Sabrina the Teenage Witch was one of my favourite ever tv shows, and I stayed because the cast is absolutely brilliant.

In happy, non lazy news, I just walked outside of my room to find both of my roommates sitting on the couch all rugged up, on their laptops, reading my blog. When I ask what they're doing, Yvonne goes "just chilling on your blog." This totally made my day.

It was Yvonne's birthday last Sunday but as my other roommate wasn't home, we're going out to dinner tonight to celebrate. So expect a lot of photos on the next post. I also haven't eaten my usual three bowls of cereal today in preparation for giant pretzels and delicious German cooking tonight.

So, about the food in this post. I got the idea from Shannon - she sent me a lovely food bag a few weeks ago which included a dark chocolate, cranberry and macademia bar. I loved it and set about trying to find the brand in Australia. When I couldn't, I realised I could probably recreate it. So here is my attempt.

I should warn you - the bars fall apart very easily - this is because there is no added sugar. The only sugar is in the honey/maple syrup and in the chocolate and rice crispies. This means the sugar content is amazingly low, especially if you use 70%+ dark chocolate, low sugar rice crispies and natural honey or maple syrup. These are very healthy and amazingly delicious. They are also no bake! I made them for me but my roommates ate them ina  day while I was at uni. They can attest that these are fantastic.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Average Cost: $
Occasion: Dinner, but I’m sure leftovers could make a lovely lunch
Menu Options: You can add whatever you like to these bars – more raisins, other nuts, you can exchange cranberries for other dried fruits, you can change the cereal you use – this recipe is a blank canvas (one I recommend trying as is first). Add or detract whatever you want – just recipe nutritional value will change.

Makes 12 squares – I couldn’t cut mine into bars (my tin is weirdly shaped)

What you need:
-          1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey, but will not hold the mixture together as well and you may need more – also is a sweeter flavour and will alter taste)
-          1/3 cup shredded coconut
-          1/3 cup sultanas
-          1/3 cup dried cranberries
-          1/3 cup macadamia nuts
-          2 cups rice crispies
-          1 cup oats
-          100 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) (you can use up to 200 g depending on how much you like chocolate and how thick you want the mixture to be)

What to do:

Over low – medium heat, melt the maple syrup until the liquid is thinner than usual and flows easily. This takes 5 – 10 minutes depending on heat. Make sure you do not burn the syrup.

In a large bowl combine the coconut, sultanas, cranberries, nuts, rice crispies and oats. Stir together well so the nuts and berries are evenly spread throughout the bowl.

While still warm, add the maple syrup to the mixture and mix well. The maple syrup mixture should coat the dry ingredients so the mixture starts to stick together.

In a well oiled brownie pan (I sprayed mine liberally with coconut oil) place the mixture. Spread the mixture evenly throughout the bowl, using the wooden spoon to pat the mixture into place. Ensure the top of the mixture is flat.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least two hours. I would recommend overnight – or up to six hours to make sure the mixture is as hard as it can be.

Melt the chocolate over the stove. As it is dark chocolate it will still be thick. Do not thin out the mixture too much.

Pour the chocolate over the bars and spread it with a wooden spoon across the surface. It may seem like you are moving the bar mixture but do not worry – just spread the chocolate liberally. It may take a while to spread the chocolate completely but do not give up.

Refrigerate until the chocolate top is hard – at least one hour to be safe.

I keep mine in the fridge, to make sure the bars don’t fall apart. But when I go to uni I take them in a lunchbox and nothing melts drastically so you may be able to keep the bars in a cupboard. I wouldn’t recommend it though.


  1. I'll definitely be trying these bars!

    i LOVE Once upon a time, I've seen about 10 eps :)

    1. Oh, it's so good! Totally a new favourite of mine!

  2. I understand about not wanting to blog, even with all of the free time! It just no longer is part of your schedule and doing other things just seems like so much more fun :) Well at least that is how it's for me sometimes!
    These look GREAT Bec, and how convenient I have all of the ingredients hehe :)

  3. This looks amazing! I love macadamias but they're so darn pricey.

    1. I know! :( But I stole leftovers from my roommate :)