Carob Crunchies (gluten free, vegan, ACD)

I can't stop making these little things! Carob makes it chocolaty without chocolate, cashew butter makes it rich without dairy, and a little flax oil adds a tasty nutty flavor and lots of good omega fatty acids.  If it these little gems have omegas, then I can consider it a healthy treat and not just dessert!  Finished off with some crunchy rice cereal and a little stevia, these are tasty, crunchy, sweet treats that are sure to satisfy!

Carob Crunchies are the perfect thing to whip up if you need a quick treat to take along to parties and potlucks.  They are also super kid-friendly and easy enough that your kids could make them on their own!  Make a batch for book club, make a batch for girls' night in, make a batch for your kids' sleepover party.  Hell, make a batch for yourself and eat them shamelessly while watching Law & Order SVU reruns on Netflix (my usual M.O.).  Late night chocolate cravings, meet your match.

Hey, these would also be great as part of an Easter basket!  I am not sure that I will be able to get around to the whole Cadbury egg recipe that I had mentioned in my previous Easter Candy post. As much as I'd like to make them, the shell is giving me a bit of trouble, and I  can only spend so much money on ingredients that keep not working out!  Plus, my egg candy mold pan I got on eBay for $5 is getting shipped to the incorrect address, so I won't even be able to try that out!  Boo!  My Cadbury dreams for Easter are fading away, I am sorry to say. Sometime I'll figure it out, and when I do, I'll post it, even if it is in the middle of July or something.

I'll try to post some other kind of sugar-free, allergy-friendly Easter treat later this week, I'll see what I can do!

As for these tasty treats, you can vary this basic recipe a million ways.  If you don't do crispy rice cereal, you could substitute chopped nuts or seeds, or shredded coconut.  You could use flavored stevia liquid to sweeten (I particularly like this with English Toffee flavored stevia).  You could swap out nut or seed butters - or even use coconut butter - if you don't tolerate cashews.  The flax oil help thin out  the cashew butter enough to mix everything together; without it the mixture is pretty solid, hard to stir, and you crush all the crispy rice.  A thinner nut butter - like tahini - might not require flax oil.  If you don't want to use flax, try melted coconut oil, hemp oil, or even a little high quality olive oil.  

Okay, I'm off to eat an entire batch of these now while indulging my TV star girl crush on Agent Olivia Benson.  Not really, just kidding; my last batch was gone a couple of days ago...but rest assured, these will be made again soon, and indulged in ravenously!

Carob Crunchies

Yield: 8 "crunchies" | Active time: 10 minutes | Total time: 10 minutes

Sweet, crunchy, and oh so good, these are guilt-free, sugar free, and totally delicious!  If you prefer to eat grain-free, you could substitute finely chopped nuts or seeds or shredded coconut for the brown rice cereal.  These can be kept at room temperature, but they soften, so store in the refrigerator for a firmer truffle.  

2-3 Tbsp carob powder (or cocoa powder)

1/4 cup cashew butter (or other seed/nut butter)

6 Tbsp crispy brown rice cereal + 1/4 cup for rolling

2 tsp flax oil (or melted coconut oil or hemp oil)

10-15 drops stevia liquid (unflavored, or choose a flavor of your choice - I like it with English Toffee!), or a tiny pinch of stevia extract powder, to taste

Place cashew butter in a bowl with carob, stevia, and flax oil and stir to combine, until mixture is smooth and well mixed.  Add 6 Tbsp crispy rice cereal and stir gently until mixed.

Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of rice cereal into a bowl or small plate.  Scoop out heaping teaspoonfuls (about 1-inch diameter) and roll into a little ball, then roll in crispy rice cereal to cover.  If you don't want the crispy rice coating, you could also roll in carob powder, shredded coconut, powdered goji berries, or finely chopped nuts.

SErve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator until more firm.  Enjoy!