These bars taste like peanut butter cups- but the secret is that they are healthy! Peanut butter and chocolate is the combination of dreams. If only I had come up with it and created a huge corporation around it, like Reece’s. Ah well – all I can do at this stage is re-create those flavours in a healthy version and just try and refrain myself from eating the whole pan.
These bars have a great texture and crunch from some added buckwheat kernels. I love using buckwheat in these types of recipes. It stays crunchy and gives these bars some interest and lift. Buckwheat has been described as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It contains lots of antioxidants, helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure and helps control blood sugar. It also looks and performs like a grain, however is actually a seed. This makes it useful for people who are sensitive to gluten and makes it a low GI food – hooray! I never would have thought I would be spouting so much health related information in a copy cat Reece’s post.
The quantities in this recipe are very easy to remember. I used 1/2 cup of peanut butter to 1/2 cup of honey, or rice malt syrup. If you can find rice malt syrup – buy some!! There is a great program here in Australia right now from journalist Sarah Wilson. She was writing a feature in a magazine about giving up sugar and in the process of doing it herself, along with losing weight and feeling so much better – she discovered a lot about our eating habits and how we have been brainwashed over time to believe that fat is the bad guy. The problem with low fat products is that they are usually packed full of sugar. And certain types of sugars (esp. fructose) cause our livers to store fat. Apparently Sarah was chatting with a pig farmer once who revealed his best way to fatten up the pigs was to feed them skimmed milk!
So after bringing equal parts peanut butter to liquid sweetener to a boil, I added 1/4 cup each of chia seeds, buckwheat and cacao nibs. I told you these bars would be crunchy! Try cocoa nibs in a savoury recipe, if you dare! They aren’t overly chocolatey, just have a great nutty flavour and crunchy texture. Sometimes I add them on top of a nice chopped salad.
Don’t worry about having a pan that fits these bars. I used the end of a small baking tray, and pushed the mixture up and packed it down with some baking paper. You can add a couple of cans of tomatoes/beans to keep it in place while it sets in the fridge. Doing it this way means the bars have a lot of height – and of course that provides extra surface area for chocolate drizzling!
Now, if you have a super sweet tooth, you might prefer milk chocolate. I went for dark to keep these on the healthier side. I like the bitterness of dark, but milk chocolate does increase the “Reece’s” vibe. Simply melt a bar of good quality chocolate in a bowl sitting on top of a pan of simmering water. Then get your drizzle on. Spoon and pan licking = mandatory!
Here is your recipe for Reece’s Crunch Bars:
- ½ cup smooth natural peanut butter
- ½ cup rice malt syrup, or honey
- ¼ cup buckwheat
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup cacao nibs
- 1 bar good quality chocolate (milk or dark depending on preference)
- Line a small pan with baking paper and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the peanut butter and honey up to a boil for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Take off the heat and quickly add in the buckwheat, chia and cacao nibs and stir well.
- Pour into one side of the tray and pack down well with baking paper. Place a tin can or something similar next to the open end so it holds the shape.
- Cool in the fridge for 1 hour, then cut into bars.