Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Crunch

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In the midst of one of my grocery store “there’s a bunch of crap in everything – even the “healthy” stuff” rants, I proclaimed that I was no longer buying any processed foods.  I announced it to my family and friends, “No more processed foods whatsoever!”  After I cooled down a bit, I thought to myself, “Oh, crap.  What have I done? I’m going to have to get creative.”

I admit, I have eaten some of my words since then.  I soon realized that between my job, my two kids, and my other homemaker duties, that this was a bit of an unrealistic goal. I’m making a pretty good effort, however, only supplementing with the occasional loaf of bread, some bags of pretzels and booty, and some boxes of cereal (I’m still trying to figure out how to make my own Cheerios from scratch).

I stated before that I would not attach calorie counts to kid food, but this Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Crunch is a treat enjoyed by the whole family. Coming in at 245 calories/cup it’s a great topper for yogurt, a Saturday morning chocolate cereal treat, or simply a couple of handfuls as a quick sweet snack or an afternoon pick-up.

It’s a bit messy, but pretty simple and easy to make. Oh yeah, it’s also gluten-free.

I love this puffed rice. It’s a great for cereal.  Ingredients = Puffed Rice. Calories = 50/cup. I’ve recently found puffed kamut at whole foods.  I’ve been mixing it with the puffed rice in this recipe.  It adds a nice texture and reminds me of Sugar Smacks without the sugar.

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Measure the puffed rice and pumpkin seeds into a large bowl. Add the cinnamon and kosher salt, and mix well with your hands.

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In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and chocolate chips.

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Slowly heat mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

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Using a spatula, pour the chocolate mixture into the puffed rice mixture, scraping the pan clean.

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Stir the mixture with the spatula and your hand until all of the puffed rice is coated with the chocolate mixture.

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Spread mixture onto two parchment-lined sheet pans.

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Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. Pull pans out of the oven and stir with a spatula.

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Return pans to oven on opposite racks.  Put the pan that was on the top rack on the bottom, and the one on the bottom rack onto the top rack. Cook mixture for 10-12 more minutes.  Remove from oven, and allow pans to cool.

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Store in an airtight container for up to one week.  245 calories/cup and gluten-free!

CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN SEED CRUNCH

8 cups puffed rice

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp Diamond Kyrstal kosher salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 Tblsps coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup bittersweet chocolate

Procedure:

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Measure puffed rice and pumpkin seeds in large bowl.  Add cinnamon and kosher salt.  Mix well.

2.  Place maple syrup, coconut oil, chocolate chips, and vanilla in a small saucepan.

3.  Slowly, over low heat, melt chocolate mixture, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.  Once chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, remove from heat.  Cool slightly.

4. Add hot chocolate mixture to puffed rice mixture, scraping the sides of the saucepan clean.

5. Using hands, or two large kitchen spoons, toss until all of the puffed rice is coated with chocolate.

6. Spread onto two parchment lined sheet pans.

7. Place pans in oven, and cook 10 minutes.

8. Remove pans from oven and toss the chocolate crunch with a flat spatula.

9.  Place pans back in oven, placing the pan that was on the bottom rack onto the top rack, and the pan that was on the top rack onto the bottom rack.

10.  Cook 10 more minutes.  Remove pans from oven and allow to cool.

11.  Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

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