Gluten Free, No Sugar Added Muddy Buddies
February 2, 2017
I was looking forward to making some Muddy Buddies for my kids to try for the first time, but couldn’t live with the idea of handing them a piece (ha! Who am I kidding? A whole bunch of pieces) of simple carbohydrates covered in chocolate and pure sugar.
I did some searching online and just couldn’t find any truly healthy options to reform this yummy treat. Some people dubbed their version “skinny” only for me to discover that meant all they did was remove butter from the recipe — however, they kept in all the powdered sugar that deliciously coats each morsel.
Now if anyone knows me, they know that butter is an integral, perhaps vital, ingredient in my family’s life! Seriously. We eat a lot of butter. And I am totally unashamed since my war is actually with processed foods, sugar and carbohydrates, not fat! So to find recipes that ditch the fat and keep the sugar… well, lets just say it wasn’t worth it. I would need to create my own magical mix from scratch. (Queue “Mission Impossible” theme music.)
I try to keep a few healthy alternative ingredients in my pantry at all times. It is way more doable to whip up something snackish AND healthy if you don’t have to make a special trip to the health food store. More doable, and much, much more economical. Some of my staples include chia seeds; whole flax seeds (ground just before use to reduce oxidation); Kamut wheat (again, I only grind about a gallon ziploc at a time and freeze it to reduce loss of nutrients through oxidation); natural peanut butter; refined or regular cold-pressed, hexane-free coconut oil; stevia and erythritol. And I recently bought a canister of plain pea protein powder with the express intention of using it in the kids’ snack concoctions or smoothies.
So I got to work, basing proportions loosely on the traditional recipe found on the back of the Rice Chex box. The peanut butter makes up the bulk of the coating instead of it being half chocolate chips (i.e. SUGAR). Combine that with coconut oil, some butter for good flavor, and baking chocolate. Melt.
Add in the cocoa powder to up the chocolateyness (yes, it’s a word. I just wrote it, didn’t I?), vanilla, and sugar substitute.
In place of sugar, I used half cup-for-cup baking stevia and half granular erythritol, and blended it in my (clean) coffee grinder to powder it. This is my favored mix for mimicking the flavor of regular sugar (Truvia is the same idea, but way more expensive). Stevia is plant-based and fabulous. I use it all the time. And as the secondary sweetener, Erythritol is superior in my book because it doesn’t affect your digestion like the other sugar alcohols such as xylitol, mannitol, etc., that you might find in sugar free diabetic candy.
Pour the chocolate mix over the cereal and stir, stir, stir to coat evenly.
I tasted the pea protein powder: it tasted “cerealish”, and I decided it didn’t clash with the Rice Chex at all. So I used that to bulk up the powdered stevia and erythritol for tossing the finished Muddy Buddies because using just the sweetener alone is nasty, trust me.
Throw the powdered sweetener/pea protein mix over the coated cereal and stir, stir, stir some more!
The final product underwent vigorous and scientific testing by my finest taste-testing lab: my family. They *love* it. They have no idea they are actually eating real, nutritious food. They think they’re eating treats! Even Daddy loves it! Score.
Without further ado, here is the full recipe to complete your happiness… or at least cure your munchies!
- 8 c. Chex Rice Cereal
- ¾ c. Natural Peanut Butter*
- 3 T. Butter
- 3 T. Organic Refined Coconut Oil*
- 1 Square Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, Chopped
- 1 t. Vanilla (GF)
- 1 T. Cocoa Powder
- 1-1/2 T. ½ & ½
- ⅓ c. Granulated Erythritol*
- ⅓ c. Baking Stevia (Cup-For-Cup)*
- ¼ c. Plain Pea Protein Powder (1 scoop)*
- Measure 8 cups of cereal into large bowl and set aside.
- Add erythritol and stevia to a clean coffee grinder (or blender) and grind till a fine powder. Allow to settle before you take the lid off!!
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix 4 T. of the powdered sweetener with the pea protein powder. Set aside.
- In microwave safe (glass) bowl, combine butter, coconut oil, peanut butter, and baking chocolate. Microwave in 30-second intervals until melted and mixed.
- To the melted chocolate mixture, add cocoa powder, vanilla, and 4 T. of the powdered sweeteners. Mix thoroughly. Add ½ & ½ and stir; mixture should thicken slightly and turn a darker color.
- Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and stir until cereal is coated. Then pour the pea protein mix over cereal and stir to coat. Enjoy!