Quinoa and Cacao Crispy Treats

Quinoa and Cacao Crispy Treats

So these little treats are quite a revelation! They take 5 minutes to make and 10 minutes to set, so they’re the best easy dessert or snack to throw together when you’re pressed on time or seriously craving a sweet snack and need it pronto! Think of them as a healthy take on tradition rice crispy treats – although don’t worry they don’t taste healthy at all, they taste totally rich, chocolatey and indulgent. Rice crispy treats were my absolute favourite childhood dessert, so this recipe makes me especially happy!

There are so few ingredients in these too, which makes them so simple to make. You just need five ingredients: raw cacao, almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and puffed/popped quinoa. With the quinoa pops you can either buy popped quinoa, it’s pretty easy to find either in a health food shop or online (even amazon have it!). Or you can make it yourself, this recipe for it I thought was great.

Makes 20 small treats

– 2 cups of popped/puffed quinoa (60g)

– 1/3 of a cup of raw cacao powder 

– 6 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

– 5 tablespoons of coconut oil

– 2 tablespoons almond butter (or an other nut butter)

– small/bite-sized cupcake cases

Place the coconut oil, cacao powder, maple syrup and almond butter into a saucepan and gently heat it for a few minutes until it’s totally smooth and melted. While this melts pour the quinoa pops into a mixing bowl.

Once the mix has melted pour it over the quinoa pops and stir it all together, until all the quinoa pops have been covered in chocolate.

Scoop the mix into small cupcake holders and place them in the freezer for twenty minutes, then serve and enjoy!


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  • http://www.eatwellnz.co.nz/ Nicola @ Eat Well NZ

    Yum these look so good! I made something similar but with puffed brown rice :-)

  • http://addalittlefood.com/ Millie l Add A Little

    Yum! This looks amazing!

  • http://anjelique.com.au/ anjelique

    These look delicious! Can’t wait to give them a go this weekend :)
    Great post!



  • Beth from Seattle

    I cannot wait to make these for my daughters, your site has been such a resource for delicious and healthy recipes. Thank you! Do you Grade B maple syrup or Grade A?

  • Polly

    Love this recipe, and also LOVE your jumper… where is it from!?

  • Benedikte

    Hi Ella, they look delicious! How do you pop quinoa? I’ve read something about frying them on a dry pan, is that correct?

  • Elenore Bendel Zahn

    Baby this all looks wonderful! I looove anything puffed but my favorite are definitely amaranth and quinoa :) Love how your jumper matches the cupcake moulds btw;)

  • Oli

    Hi Ella,
    I really love and enjoy your blog! .. and food of course :) I was wondering if the maple syrup in this recipe could be substituted with honey? Thank you!

  • RitaB

    I can’t wait to try these! Have you ever tried using cocoa butter instead of coconut oil when making chocolate? I know that’s the staple when making chocolate but since you mostly use coconut oil is it because it’s healthier? Do you have any thoughts on cocoa butter in general? Thanks!

  • http://www.mressentialist.com MR ESSENTIALIST

    These look amazing.

  • Bianca

    Is dark cocoa powder the same as raw cocoa powder? Does it have the same/similar health benefits or is it just as bad as regular cocoa powder?

  • Elektrokat

    Oh I am so excited to try these!
    Just found your blog and so super happy that I have!!

  • Bridget

    Popped quinoa! I had no idea that was a thing. I can actually have breakfast cereal again! And your crispy treats look so chocolately and delicious, I have a love for krispy treats too and have been wanting to find a way to make them gluten free. Thanks!

  • ellawoodward

    Raw cacao is unprocessed so it is different to cocoa powder.

  • ellawoodward

    Yes that’s totally fine x

  • ellawoodward

    I just use any maple syrup that doesn’t contain any additives

  • http://www.curiouslyconscious.com/ Besma

    I have never heard of popped quinoa until now! Protein from chocolate crispie cakes, that’s a first. Thanks for the recipe Ella.

  • Kimberly C

    I am allergic to all nuts but really want to try this recipe! Any other substitutions for nut butter?

    • ellawoodward

      You could use tahini

      • Jenny

        Thank you for your recipes !!
        Would you use the same quantity? x

    • Samantha

      What about sunflower seed butter?

  • Kay

    Hi Ella!! I love this! You have absolutely amazing food! :)
    Anyway – popped quinoa! a first for me too. Was wondering though, is it possible to make this at home? I don’t think I have seen this sold here yet. Just wondering if there is a way that I could just be the one to make it?

    Thank you! And much love all the way from the Philippines! I have told and shared your website to all my friends here. xoxo

    • ellawoodward

      Yes, there is a link on the post of how to pop quinoa yourself!

  • ellawoodward

    I’ve not tried to do it myself but there are lots of articles showing you how if you google it

  • Caitlin

    These look great! May I please ask where your jumper is from? I really like it!

  • ellawoodward

    It’s from Chinti and Parker

  • Elin

    Hi Ella, just wanted to let you know that I made these today for my mums birthday tomorrow and omg they turned out AMAZING! Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes! Xx

  • Alice

    Hi Ella,
    I love your blog! And i’am absolutly in love with your sweater, where did you buy it? *_*

    Lots of kisses from France,

  • Eline van der Linden-Zeggelink

    Hi Ella! Looks amazing like all your other recipes. You are doing so well! A quick question, you think if I’d use puffed spelt it would be ok? Thanks!! Eline

  • Eline van der Linden-Zeggelink

    Hi Ella, was just wondering could I use spelt puffs instead? They look yummy!!

  • Molly

    these look really great, i look forward to making them!

  • ellawoodward

    Yes, I think so – I haven’t tried it though so it may take a bit of taste testing!

  • Tara Hartigan

    I made these but couldn’t find Popped Quinoa either so used popped millet which didn’t really work but had some choccy left over and made little parcels using nuts, seeds and raisins and they went down a treat! The chocolate is delicious and I am going to make some more this evening for a dinner party I’m going to! Thanks x

  • kelly

    Is there anything you could use instead of coconut oil? x

    • Katie

      Hi Kelly, I used rapeseed oil (Clearspring) as didn’t have any coconut and they turned out beautifully. Ella, I LOVE this recipe and I love your blog – discovered it two weeks ago and since then I’ve made these ‘chocolate crackles’, as my son calls them, 3 times! So delish. Will be making the sweet potatoe brownies next! :)

  • Laura

    Amazing recipe! So yum xx

  • Albert T

    Is that 1.5 cups of quinoa really only 60g in metric? Thanks

  • ellawoodward

    Yes, the popped quinoa is really light!

  • Sarah N

    These are delicious, I have made them so many times – my teenagers love them! Have also tried making them with buckwheat puffs and Rude Health honey puffed oats – all good. Love the website and can’t wait for the cook book!

  • ellawoodward

    I’m sure that would be fine!

  • ellawoodward

    Yes I have tried both and they both are great I just find that it is easier to use coconut oil as more people already have it at home!

  • ellawoodward

    It is from Chinti and Parker!

    • ellawoodward

      I haven’t tried that I’m afraid but any popped grain should be fine! So pleased you all like the brownies.

  • ellawoodward

    I’ve never tried that but I can’t imagine why not!

  • ellawoodward

    It is from Chinti and Parker!

  • ellawoodward

    Great idea!

  • ellawoodward

    You can probably leave it out but the mixture would be a little thicker x

    • kelly

      Ok thanks so much! i love your recipes but not to sure if coconut products aggregate my stomach which is really annoying so I’m on the search for a substitute!! x

    • kelly

      Do you have any substitutions in general to coconut oil? Just because coconut products seem to not agree with me :( xx

    • kelly

      Do you have any suggestions for substitutions in general as coconut products seem to irritate me? Xx

  • Rhianna

    These are so good!

  • sofie

    From the minute i saw these crispy treats on the website i wanted to make them. Tonight i had the time, but the mix in the sauce pan came out all crumbly / sticky and not at all smooth and melted.. d*mn! the mix doesn’t cover the quinoa..
    i don’t know what i did wrong, but i keep on trying!

  • David

    I’ve been looking for a ‘healthier’ crispy cake snack and your recipe seems great. However, I wonder what your views on raw cacao are in terms of aflatoxin? Do you have a recommended supplier? It’s one of the major downsides to using raw cacao or even cocoa that I find concerning. Thanks, D.

  • ellawoodward

    I think you may have burnt the mix perhaps – try cooking on a really low heat.

  • Guest

    Could you use puffed buckwheat too? Or would it be too big?

  • Jillian

    Hi Ella I made these today and they were very yummy…..Thank you for the great recipe and I’m very excited for your cookbook :)

  • http://www.therosedogblog.me Rosie

    Oh this looks fabulous Ella. I will be making tonight and shading on my blog through with this wonderful inspiration. Thank you.
    Rosie xx

  • ellawoodward

    I’m really sorry but there isn’t really one. x

  • ellawoodward

    I’m really sorry but there isn’t really a substitute but there are plenty of other recipes without coconut which I hope you can try x

  • ellawoodward

    I don’t use cacao every day so it really isn’t something that I worry myself with. There is a link on the store for my favourite brands.

  • ellawoodward

    I think that would work fine! Ella :) x

  • Charlotte

    Hi, what can you use as a replacement of the maple syrup? Could you use blended medjool dates?

  • ellawoodward

    Hey – maybe a date nectar, honey or agave would work well here. And yes I think blended medjool dates would work fine :) x

  • Bridget O’Brien

    when you say popped/puffed quinoa, do you mean popped or puffed? or are you trying to say you pop the quinoa and then you puff it. Just got a little confused.

  • ellawoodward

    I just use them interchangeably! x

  • Orla King

    Hi Ella, I couldn’t find quinoa puffs…would millet puffs be ok? Do you make your own quinoa puffs? I have been reading how to online but no one mentions rinsing the quinoa first…would love some guidance thanks. Can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!

  • Orla King

    Sorry Ella ignore my question I found the link to make myself!

  • Guest

    Wow! This is great: quick and yummy!

  • Lauren Plant

    Hi Ella, what’s the best way to store these please? And roughly how long will they last (providing I can keep my hands off them)! Thanks :-)

    • ellawoodward

      I usually just keep them in the fridge and they should last a week or two in a sealed container. x

  • Linda

    There seems to be a problem with the measurements in this. 1 and a half cups is at 60g and 1/3 of a cup is at 80g. I don’t have cup measurements so I used the grams and the recipe went very wrong.

  • ellawoodward

    Different ingredients weigh different amounts x

  • Kerry Leigh

    Hi Ella! I really want to make these soon. Just wondering what brand of puffed quinoa you buy or would recommend? There are a few on amazon but not sure which is the best to go for. Thank you! Your blog has opened up a whole new world to me, you’re so inspiring!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Kerry, I don’t have a particular brand which I use. So glad you’re feeling inspired! X

  • Jenn Fratarcangeli

    Just made these and….. WOW. The flavor is INCREDIBLE!! So here’s where I am struggling (in addition to restraining myself from eating them all!). How should I keep them once they’ve been in the freezer for 20 minutes? I am not ready to serve them all now and am hoping I can keep them. Refrigerator perhaps?

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Jenn, so glad you love them! They work equally well in both the freezer or the fridge! Have a beautiful day x

  • Claire Evans

    Ella – can you help? I’ve made it but the chocolate doesn’t seen as runny as in your picture. I added water which helped but wondered if I did something wrong. Thank you

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Claire, perhaps the cacao powder, coconut oil, almond butter and maple syrup didn’t melt completely when you were heating it. Hope it turns out great next time! X

  • Kerry Leigh

    Hi again Ella. I’ve already commented on these, but this time I have made them. I’m just wondering if the quinoa is meant to be crispy (like rice crispy cakes) or a little soft? Everything worked out great, they look and taste amazing, but my quinoa isn’t crispy like I expected. Hoping I didn’t order a bad batch of it!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Kerry, the quinoa should be slightly crispy, perhaps you need to freeze them for a little longer. Hope it turns out great! X

  • LittleBig

    Hi Ella, really love the idea of your recipes. However they’re just not affordable for families I’m afraid. Nothing to do with YOU at all, of course, BUT if you have any influence on the supermarkets or retailers, pls try to influence the prices of things like Raw Cacoa, Almond Butter, Quinoa, real maple syrup. This recipe would cost me well over £25 from scratch, and the quantities would mean the actual bake would cost around a fifth to a quarter of that cost. There’s just no point. I’m sure you are using your influence as much as possible, and that things change in the future. Fingers crossed anyway.

    • Maisie

      I do agree, these things are expensive. I had to wait a while and save up money before being able to make recipes but I found that looking around at different places like health food shops, supermarkets, and even places like Amazon (sometimes even ebay!) I found better deals. I also found that buying larger quantities of things like almonds and cacao meant that in the long run I was saving money as you use less cacao than cocoa in recipes it evened out in price. You can make almond butter just by putting almonds by themselves in a food processor and blending them for about 15 minutes, I found that this way was cheaper than buying ready made almond butter and it is so delicious!
      I hope any of those tips help, and hopefully in the future the cost of these ingredients will go down so its easier to have nutritious, yummy food like this :)

  • ellawoodward

    Hi, I really try to keep my costs down on recipes as much as I can. Unfortunately I cannot control what the supermarkets price their products as. I focus on nourishing my body with the best, nutrients dense ingredients as possible X

  • Georgie

    Hello, wonderful stuff you are doing here by the way. I am a mother and am trying to introduce healthy treat alternatives to the kids and am hoping this will be a winner like your flapjacks were! Anyway, I have a block of solid cacao that I need to use. Would I be able to use this instead of cacao power? Many thanks in advance :)

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Georgie, I’ve only ever made healthy sweet treats using cacao powder rather than cacao solids. You could try grinding or grating it into small pieces which will be easier to use in your baking. Have a lovely day, Ella x

    • Georgie

      Thanks, will give it a go :)

  • http://www.lifeofgoodness.com.au Tiana

    Love this!! I love a good simple recipe! thank you xx

  • Lucy

    Hi Ella,
    What are your views on coconut sugar? I frequently see “health food” recipes that include it, but I have been unable to discover whether it is refined or not. Also, what are your views on raw cane sugar? Is it as bad as refined cane sugar? Thanks so much!

  • Molly

    I just made these this evening, and they are sooo delicious! I never popped quinoa before, and can’t believe how nutty and crunchy it is! I used dark cocoa powder instead of raw cacao, and it turned out fabulous. It’s a good option for people trying to cut down on the cost. Thank you for creating and posting this recipe. It’s great to have a new favorite, delicious vegan snack!

  • Molly

    I just made these this evening, and they are sooo delicious! I never popped quinoa before, and I can’t believe how nutty and crispy it tastes. I used dark cocoa powder instead of raw cacao powder, and it tastes fabulous! It could be one way to cut down the cost of this recipe, too, for those looking to do so. Thank you for creating this recipe and for sharing it! It’s great to have a new favorite, healthy, vegan snack with chocolate!

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Lucy, I love using coconut sugar in my recipes as it is completely natural and doesn’t spike my GI levels. I tend to stay away from raw cane sugar as this will have similar effects to refined sugar. I have written a whole blog post about sugar! X

  • Ali

    Made quinoa & cacao crispy treats and just tried first one. Oh so amazing! I’ve been sugar free for 2 weeks, but am still craving sweet treats in the afternoon. This really hit the spot for me. I feel so naughty, but I didn’t cheat on my diet at all. I omitted the maple syrup and substituted a dessertspoon of molasses. I had previously added my puffed quinoa to my homemade cereal mixture of puffed brown rice, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, so used that instead of just the puffed quinoa. Sorry Ella, but I think my recipe is even better than yours! Thank you for the beautiful heartfelt inspiration.

  • Gigi

    Hi Ella What kind of pan are you using in this picture of the quinoa-pop? I absolute love this pan and would like to purchase my own!

  • ellawoodward

    The brand of the pan is called Meyer Tensl! Have a lovely day x

  • Kirsty

    Hi Ella,

    I have just made they are more like just quinoa covered cacao! My cacao mix never went as liquid as yours even when i added water. It was more like a thick paste :( I put in the recommended 80g cacao but this seemed an awful lot when considering the little amount of other ingredients it had to melt into. What do you think i did wrong?

    Kirsty :)

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Kirsty, I am sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t turn out great. You could try adding more coconut oil and maple syrup to create a smoother consistency! Have a lovely day! Ella x

  • Laura

    Hi Ella, would puffed buckwheat work in this recipe? Thanks :)

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Laura, I’ve never tried it but I think puffed buckwheat would work really well! X

  • Pauline

    Hi Ella, I just bought your book and I completely adore your recipes.

    However, I would like to echo Kirsty’s comment as my mix stayed completely solid and never got liquid :( I agree that the amount of cocoa seems like a lot. Should we use raw cocoa bits and not powder? In the meantime, I can maybe turn the paste into truffles. Xx

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Pauline, the melted coconut oil should help to create a melted mixture. You could always melt a little more coconut oil and see if that helps. It’s best to use cacao powder rather than solid cacao. X

    • Alexandra Pop

      I had the same problem at first. What I find works is to melt the coconut oil first with the maple syrup and add gradually the cacao powder, stirring until you get the desired consistency. Turned out perfect!
      Thank you Ella for all the delicious recipes!
      This one is a winner!

  • https://superfitbabe.wordpress.com/ Cassie

    Oh, how delicious! I’d love to make these into bars and sprinkle a little coconut or almond butter on top!

  • Molly

    Where should I store these ?

    • ellawoodward

      These are best stored in the fridge. Hope you enjoy them! X

  • Molly Timlin

    Also, would this mixture work with oats instead of quinoa? in order to make a chocolatey flapjack, or would it not sustain if baked in the oven? Thank you so much x

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Molly, I’ve never tried using this recipe with oats and then baking it but I imagine that it could actually work really well! Hope it turns out delicious! X

  • 3JoelGrace Young

    Hi Ella, is it 5 tablespoons of melted or solid coconut oil? Thanks. Grace

    • ellawoodward

      Hi, it’s solid coconut oil. Hope you love the recipe! X

  • ellawoodward

    I have that problem too when I make these!! x

  • stephanie weaver

    Hi Ella! Have really been enjoying all the terrific recipes….have made these a few times now and tried adding a couple of teaspoons of organic peppermint extract and vanilla powder to them….Wow, like a really high quality Aero….Thanks so much for the inspiring food and lifestyle recommendations..the best I have felt in months!

    • ellawoodward

      I am so happy to hear that you are loving the recipes and feel so inspired by the blog! Have a lovely day, Ella x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Chloe, I am so happy to hear that it still turned out delicious. I hope you continue to enjoy many more of the recipes, have a lovely day x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Sophie, I am so sorry to hear this. Sadly it’s difficult for me to advise as I’ve never experienced this before. If the chocolate mixture was too dark/bitter you can always add more maple syrup. I also buy popped quinoa from Biofair which I really recommend. I would freeze them for slightly longer so it sets properly! Hope they turn out more delicious next time! So happy you love the brownies! X

  • http://www.theconstantefforts.com The constant efforts

    Wow this looks so good and it seems really easy to make. I was looking for a quick dessert like this.

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Natasha, so happy to hear that you’re finding the blog so helpful and enjoying so many of the recipes and feeling great in the process. Really hope you keep up your healthy journey x

  • ellawoodward

    I don’t really eat millet so I’m not too sure how they would turn out but definitely worth a try! X

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Kirsty, the gram measurements are correct, you can find the recipe in book two on p206 too! If the mixture was too thick, try adding a little more coconut oil to help it become slightly more runnier. Make sure you don’t overheat the mixture in the saucepan as this can affect the consistency! X

  • Dwehasta Shah

    Hi Ella, I have just attempted to make these treats however the chocolate wasn’t runny enough to completely coat the quinoa pops as shown in your book. Any ideas where I may have gone wrong? Any suggestions on how I can rectify what I have attempted to make? Many thanks

    • ellawoodward

      So sorry that they didn’t turn out perfect! I can only think maybe you didn’t melt the mixture enough before pouring it over the quinoa pops. Feel free to add more coconut oil and maple syrup to make the mixture more liquid x

  • Tyler Mia Dawes

    Do you think i could make these with puffed rice instead of quinoa?

    • ellawoodward

      Yes absolutely! x

  • Marcia

    I’ve tried these twice now & the chocolate mix turns into a paste. I tried added more coconut oil, but just get a lump of paste surrounded by liquid. I tried Lisa’s tip of melting all the ingredients together then adding the cacao, but once again turned to a paste. Very frustrating!! I’m going to try for the third time, using the Bain Marie method like when I make chocolate. Determined not to be beaten! Hate wasting expensive ingredients like this!

    • ellawoodward

      Make sure you don’t overheat the mixture as this can often cause it to thicken and burn. It should only take a few minutes! X

      • Marcia

        Hi Ella, thanks for your reply. I had it on the smallest gas ring I have, on the lowest heat. Results of my third attempt: melted ingredients in a Bain Marie then slowly added the cacao, quaking a little at a time. Didn’t use anywhere near as much as your recipe, about a tablespoon & it worked! Just taken them out of the freezer & they taste delicious, except they aren’t crispy, soft like the quinoa was stale. The packet was open & I didn’t taste it when I first opened it, so not sure if it is meant to be like that or not.
        The cacao paste I had from my failed attempts I mixed with some dried cranberries & roughly blitzed almonds & rolled into balls to make truffles & put in freezer, so no waste. Thank you to the person that suggested that idea.
        Saw you at Jamie Oliver’s big Feastival last year Ella, & haven’t stopped making your Raw chocolate, orange brownies. They are divine, keep really well in the freezer & my kids love them! Thank you.

  • Gillian M Thompson

    Hi Ella, I’m very fortunate not to be restricted to any particular diet but I still love your recipes. I recently linked to your gorgeous quinoa chocolate treats on one of my meal plans (http://gillianskitchen.com/weekly-meal-plan-week-beginning-29th-feb/). My kids loved them too. :)

  • Sandra

    Hi Ella, congrats on your wedding!! These look amazing, 1/3 cup cacao isn’t 80g, is there an error with the cup size or the weight please? Thanks Sandra

    • ellawoodward

      So sorry for the confusion Sandra, we are working on this now! Stick with the cup measurements :) Hope you love them x

  • ellawoodward

    So sorry for the confusion! The correct weight is 60g which is 2 cups, the recipe has now been updated. Hope you love them! X

  • ellawoodward

    They’re not too crispy but they should hold solidly together after freezing x