Saturday, 21 October 2017

Smoky Quinoa And Cacao Nib Bars

Quinoa (keenwah) - hard to say but not to eat.  I have used it in salads before, but this was new to me.  I mean the puffed bit, and using it in a sweet treat.  I have to be honest here -  this first turned out to be quinoa and cacao rubble rather than bars.  Mr P. said he would add clusters of it to his morning cereal.  I then made some adjustments to the recipe, which was already delicious but just didn't set as hard as it should have.  So I did a bit of recipe renovating.

This recipe is from Simon Bajada's book Nordic Light, which I have enjoyed reading.  I also enjoyed his Scandi photos, now that he lives in Sweden with his Swedish wife.  This has become more of a chocolate sweet treat rather than Simon's healthy bar, but it is still full of the nutty, seedy good stuff.  I have checked similar recipes to this one on the Net, and they all suggest using just coconut oil or a similar substance.  Just not sure how it would set.  Don't worry, with this amount of melted chocolate, you will succeed. 

ingredients gathered


220g. pitted soft prunes, diced

2 tbs butter or coconut oil

150g. nut butter - I used a mix of hazelnut, cashew and almond

50 mLs plain vegetable oil like peanut or rapeseed

1 tbs honey

(big) pinch of cayenne pepper

150g. pepitas, lightly toasted

20g. cacao nibs or chocolate bits

25g. puffed quinoa - or quinoa flakes or puffed amaranth or even rice bubbles!

90g. brazil nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

200g. dark chocolate, melted

a large pinch of smoked sea salt

for the topping:

100g. dark, milk or white chocolate, melted

1/2-1 tbs smoked sea salt flakes


Mash the prunes forcefully with a fork in a bowl till well-squished (or cheat and throw the prunes into a small food processor)

Add the prunes and the butter (or coconut oil) to a large saucepan over a medium-low heat

Stir in the nut butter, the veg. oil, the honey and the cayenne pepper

Grasp your wooden spoon and mash it all together

Keep stirring over a low heat for 2-3 minutes till beautifully squishy

Remove from the heat and add the pepitas, cacao nibs, the puffed quinoa, the brazil nuts, the melted dark chocolate and the pinch of smoked sea salt

Mix with gusto!

Take your lined loaf tin or baking tray and press the mixture very firmly into the tin with a big spoon or your hands

Melt the 100g. of chocolate and drizzle over the mixture

Sprinkle on the salt flakes and whack into the fridge for a few hours

Take it out of the tin and cut into nice sized bars


I chopped the prunes up with kitchen scissors - so much easier

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second bursts

I started off with a loaf tin, and ended up putting it into a tray (30cm x 20cm) the next morning when I realised that it hadn't set.  I then melted the 200g. of chocolate and stirred it in to the crumbly mix

Back it went into the fridge with a piece of baking paper and a couple of heavy tins on top - you don't have to do this!  Basically just follow the recipe and you won't have to worry about all the other stuff that I did to fix it up:=) 

mash the prunes with a fork

mash up the prunes and butter in a large saucepan

yep looking murky at this stage   

seeds and nuts in

mixing in the melted chocolate

press down very firmly with a spoon or hands 

You caught me out - yep I licked the spoon.  And somehow I seem to have chocolate all over my fingers too.  How did that happen?:=)

chocolate and smoked salt ready to go on top 

looking tasty and kinda pretty

slice it up as big or small as you like 

deliciously salty, chocolatey and nutty 

If you are feeling brave, try making it without the 200g. chocolate to bind it together.  I'd love to know how you go!

my seedy doodle


  1. I think I'd want to have this with the chocolate-I'm never one to leave it out! :D

    1. Me too Lorraine. Chocolate is always a winner. X

  2. Replies
    1. The smoked salt gives it a wonderful contrast in taste.

  3. This has got some very nutritional ingredients...also antioxidants in the chocolate! looks yum Sherry.

    1. Hi Jem
      I reckon they are very good for you:). All the seeds and nuts 🥜 x

  4. Hi Sherry, I saw your photo on Instagram and had to pop over and check this recipe out! I love seeds, nuts and chocolate... Smoked salt (smoked paprika) are things that haven't reached this island yet. But I still fancy this recipe. Pinning.


    1. Thanks Debbie. I love smoked foods; smoked salt is so delish! Reminds us of our Neanderthal beginnings I reckon:=)

  5. i love quinoa! i typically use it for grain salads though, and have little experience using it in sweet applications, but these sound delicious (:

    1. Thanks heather. They were crunchy and delicious 😋


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