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Are you looking for a deliciously wholesome chocolate bar recipe? Then you have to try my Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars. These indulgent treats use natural real food ingredients, so they contain more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than a traditional candy bar. Perfect for kids and adults alike.
The BEST Chocolate Caramel Bars
I have a sweet tooth, so giving up chocolate altogether will never happen! That said, I do like to find ways to add extra nutrition to chocolate treats rather than simply indulge in empty calories. That’s why I’ve created these no-bake Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars. Sticky, sweet, and loaded with brown puffed rice, they’re slightly reminiscent of a Nestlé Toffee Crisp but made with simple, wholesome ingredients.
Dates bind them together and create some fiber-filled sweetness; peanut butter and chia seeds pack them with protein and healthy fats, puffed rice provides a subtle crispy crunch, and chocolate, vanilla, and a little salt bring the flavors to next-level deliciousness.
These Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars are:
Made with natural ingredients
These caramel bars come together with nine simple ingredients.
- Dates & Nut Butter: Together, they form the smooth caramel for this chocolate bar. Medjool dates work the best as they are lovely and soft, perfect for blending. And I’m using unsweetened natural smooth peanut butter. Almond or cashew butter also works well.
- Maple Syrup: Provides extra sweetness. Although, you can leave it out if you’d prefer the sweetness to come solely from dates.
- Pure Vanilla Extract: To amp up the flavor.
- Chia Seeds: For an extra nutrition boost. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, omega-3, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Brown Puffed Rice: I’m using Kallo Organic Wholegrain Breakfast Puffs as they are gluten-free, contain no added sugar, and are vegan-friendly.
- Coconut Oil: Softens the chocolate when it sets, so you get less of a snap. I’m using Biona Organic 100% Natural Coconut Oil Cuisine-Odourless.
- Dark Chocolate: I’m using chocolate chips for this recipe as I like their convenience – they melt quickly and evenly. I like to use dairy-free chocolate chips that are at least 70% cocoa and refined sugar-free. So, I’m using Nibble Simply Divinely Madagascan Dark Chocolate Chips. They only contain four natural ingredients, including cocoa, coconut sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla extract – making them vegan-friendly too! But you can use your favorite kind of chocolate.
- Salt: To make the flavors pop! I’m using coarse Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, so that hit of saltiness really shines through.
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
How to Make Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars
These Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars are so fun to make. Here’s what you need to do.
- Date Caramel Mixture
Combine the dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla essence, chia seeds, and salt in a
food processor and blend into a smooth paste.
- Date Caramel Layer
Divide one-third of the date caramel between your chocolate mold cavities OR spread into the bottom of your lined and greased baking tin.
- Puffed Rice
Pour the puffed rice into the food processor bowl with the remaining two-thirds of the date caramel. Pulse a few times, just until the soft caramel mixture coats the puffed rice.
- Puffed Rice Layer
Pour the caramel coated puffed rice into your chocolate mold or baking tin and press down to compact. Then, put it into the freezer for 15 minutes until the bars are easier to handle.
- Remove from Mold / Tin
Once hard enough to handle, remove the caramel bars from the mold or tin. Use a sharp knife to slice into 24 separate caramel bars.
- Melt Chocolate
Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a medium bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval so the chocolate melts evenly without scorching. Use a double boiler if you prefer.
- Chocolate Dunk
Plunge each chocolate bar into the chocolate to coat. If you prefer your candy to be less chocolatey, drizzle a little over the top (pictured in step 8).
- Serve and Enjoy!
Let the Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars set at room temperature. Then, tuck in and enjoy!
For the full recipe and ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.Jump to Recipe
Tips for Making the Perfect Chocolate Caramel Bars
Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
If you use a block of chocolate (chocolate bar), chop it into small pieces so it melts quickly and evenly. If you’re using chips or chunks, there’s no need to chop them further.
Melt the chocolate slowly.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, which can cause it to seize up or burn. Alternatively, you can place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it has completely melted.
~ Culinary Medicine Scoop ~
What are the Potential Health Benefits of Medjool Dates?
Dates have many health benefits that make them valuable to a balanced and nutritious diet. Here are just a few examples:
1Medjool Dates are Low GI
Dates are considered low on the glycemic index, which means they have a less significant impact on blood sugar levels than other sweet foods. Furthermore, they are an excellent source of fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. That said, while dates are a delicious and nutritious fruit, it’s important to be mindful that they are 70% natural sugar1, so as with any food, moderation is key.
2Medjool Dates are a Good Source of Antioxidants
3Medjool Dates are High in Dietary Fiber
Fiber can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and prevent plaque build-up in the arteries, which would otherwise increase the risk of heart disease1.
More Delicious Snacks
- Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Homemade Chocolate Buttons
- 38 Healthy Matcha Green Tea Snacks and Desserts
- Coconut Blueberry Wholemeal Muffins
- Easy Candied Walnuts
Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars ~ Full Recipe
Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars
- 8 oz (225 g) Medjool dates pitted
- 1 cup (250 g) smooth peanut butter sub cashew butter or almond butter
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups brown puffed rice
- 1¾ cups (300 g) dark chocolate chips
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- Prep: Gather and prepare your ingredients. Soak the dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Grease a 24-cavity chocolate bar mold OR a 8 x 8 baking tin lined with parchment paper. Top tip: Nonstick cooking spray is great for this task.
- Date Caramel Mixture: Combine the dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla essence, chia seeds, salt, and 3 tablespoons of date water in a food processor and blend it into a smooth paste.
- Date Caramel Layer: Divide one-third of the date caramel between your chocolate mold cavities OR spread it into the bottom of your lined and greased pan in an even layer.
- Puffed Rice Mixture: Pour the puffed rice into the bowl of the food processor with the remaining two-thirds of the date caramel. Mix just a few times until the puffed rice is coated with the caramel mixture. As the date caramel mixture is extremely sticky, it's much easier to combine it with the puffed rice in the food processor than by hand. The aim is to mix gently, not to chop the rice.
- Puffed Rice Layer: Now, pour mixture into your mold/tin. Press mixture down to compact it and then place into the freezer for 15 minutes. Once the bars are hard enough to handle, remove them from the mold/tin with the date caramel layer at the top. If you've used a tin, slice into 24 separate bars.
- Melted Chocolate Mixture: Meanwhile, place the chocolate and coconut oil in a medium bowl and melt in the microwave in 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval so the chocolate melts evenly without scorching. Use a double boiler over low heat if you prefer. Let the chocolate cool a little, then plunge each bar in for a delicious dark chocolate coating. If you prefer your candy to be less chocolatey, drizzle a little over the top. Either way, drain the chocolate bars over a cooling rack. Let the chocolate set at room temperature. Then get stuck in and enjoy!
I can’t wait for you to make these Chocolate Caramel Puffed Rice Bars! Get in touch via the comments section, and let me know how they turn out.
Thanks for stopping by!