All Natural Gold Bars Recipe
Ok, this recipe is especially for my Albuquerque friends and fam…All Natural Gold Bars… Yes, I’m talking about those glorious, peanut butter and chocolate sweet treats prepared by the lovely lunch ladies of APS. As a raw and natural foods chef I am always trying to come up with healthier, more natural versions of old favorites. My husband loves peanut butter, rice crispy treats and chocolate so I immediately thought, “Gold Bars!” and searched online for the recipe. When I found it I was sugar-shocked! Check it out for yourself. I also came across another version at Just a Pinch and went to work substituting ingredients. By no means am I claiming my recipe is “healthy,” but it doesn’t contain nearly the amount of processed sugar and uses natural, healthier ingredients (coconut oil, natural peanut butter and dark chocolate); therefore, if you’re going to indulge a little this would the better option. Since the sweetness is more balanced out by the dark chocolate I consider these to be the “grown-up” version of the super sweet treat we all remember as kids. Although my husband never had the pleasure of trying the “old school” Gold Bars, he now says the All Natural (version) Gold Bars are his new favorite sweet treat. Want to try them for yourself? Here’s the recipe. If you make them, I’d love to know what you think!
Revised Ingredients: (Use organic when available. I was able to find all the ingredients at Sprouts, many of which were in the bulk section.)
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance, melted
- 2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted
- 1 & 2/3 cups coconut sugar or turbindo sugar (“sugar in the raw”)
- 1 & 1/2 cups all natural, crunchy peanut butter
- 2-3 cups brown rice crispies
- 2 (3oz) dark chocolate bars (70% or more cacao, preferably)
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (optional)
Add sugar, melted butter and coconut oil to a large bowl and stir. Next, add the peanut butter to the bowl and stir until well combined *Tip: The oil in all natural nut butters have the tendency to separate so prior to using (make sure the lid is on tight and) turn the container/jar of nut butter upside down, set on the counter and leave there for 5-10 minutes prior to using. Then turn it over and pour off any excess oil before stirring. Add 2 cups of brown rice crispies to the bowl of mixture and gently fold them in. If mixture is too runny add more brown rice crispies. Pour the mixture into a 9×13 glass baking dish/pan and firmly press down until its even. Place pan in fridge or freezer while you make the topping.
For the topping, break apart the chocolate bars and add to a crock pot and turn on high. As it begins to melt, stir. (if you don’t have a crock pot you can melt the chocolate on the stove in a pan on the lowest heat setting.) As an option you can add a Tablespoon or two of peanut butter to the melted chocolate. Once melted, allow the chocolate to cool for a a couple of minutes. Then, pour the chocolate on the peanut butter mixture. Using a rubber spatula, smooth chocolate evenly over the mixture, covering it completely. Place pan in fridge and allow to set in there for 6-8 hours or overnight. The longer they set in the fridge, the better formed they’ll be. Once firmed, cut into brownie like pieces and keep stored in the fridge.