Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars – Homemade Valentine’s Day Gifts

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars, www.weknowstuff.us.com

As a child, I remember waking up every Valentine’s Day and going downstairs to find chocolate and a stuffed animal from my mom.  I never understood why she gave my brother and I presents on a day that was for “lovers”, but now that I am a mom I totally understand!  Valentine’s Day should be used to celebrate everyone that you love and appreciate around you – not just a spouse or a boyfriend/girlfriend, but also your kids, grandkids, grandparents, best friends, and even your child’s teachers.  It is more than just a day to say “I love you”, it’s a day that can be used to thank a special someone for the positive impact they have on your or your child’s life

 

Now that my son is beginning to understand what is going on in his surroundings, I am trying to start new traditions with him.  For Valentine’s Day, we are going to only give handmade and homemade gifts (with the exception of store-bought Elmo Valentine’s day cards for his classmates).
PomPom Heart Wreath, www.weknowstuff.us.com

If you need a few ideas, We Know Stuff has some great craft and food items for your child’s loved ones.  Crafts are great because they can be taken out each year as holiday decorations.  Food/baking items are also great gifts because, well, who doesn’t love baked goods!? 

Here are a few things from We Know Stuff that caught my eye:

Heart Pom-Pom Wreath

Intertwined Hearts Wall or Mantle Decoration

Pink Sugar Cookie Kisses

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

 

I am also sharing a super easy, four ingredient vegan recipe that would make a great Valentine’s Day gift.  Kids can help with this as it is no-bake and is very simple.  If it doesn’t look perfect, it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the experience for your child and the thought they put into creating the gift.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars, www.weknowstuff.us.com

We will be giving these to my son’s daycare teachers to show how much he loves them and also how much we appreciate their daily love and care. I just need to warn you – these are dangerously delicious! Thankfully we gave away the entire first batch during recipe testing, but I am embarrassed to say how quickly my husband and I ate the second one I made. 

 

When making these, I drizzled melted chocolate on the top of the bars so they were pretty the first time around, but the second time I just placed the chocolate chips on top.  Honestly, it didn’t make much of a difference in terms of taste, so if you’re going for ease, just place the chips on the top.  Also, I wrapped a few of the bars in wax paper and tied them with ribbons to trial how they would be for gift giving, but plan to get craftier with this when I make the batch for gift giving (think red ribbon and potentially heart stickers).

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars, www.weknowstuff.us.com

 

VEGAN CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CRUNCH BARS

 

Ingredients

* 1, 12 oz bag of chocolate chips – about 2 cups (I used Wegmans brand)
* 1 cup peanut butter (I used Simply JIF creamy)
* 2.5 cups crispy rice cereal (I used Kellogg's® Rice Krispies)
* 1 cup powdered sugar

 

Directions: 

Step 1:  Line 9×9 square baking pan with parchment or wax paper so that it is overlapping the edge of the pan for easy removal of the bars later.

Step 2: Melt 1 ¾ cups of the chocolate chips in the microwave according to package instructions.

Step 3: Mix 1 ½ cups of rice cereal into the melted chocolate and pour evenly into bottom of lined baking pan.  Place in freezer so this layer can set while you prepare the peanut butter layer.

Step 4: In a large bowl and using a hand mixer (low then medium speed,) mix 1 cup of peanut butter with 1 cup of powdered sugar. 

Step 5: Add 1 cup of rice cereal and mix again with hand mixer until fully combined.  Do not over mix or you will crush all the rice cereal.

Step 6: Remove pan from freezer and place peanut butter mixture on top of chocolate crunch layer.  You may need to wet your hands slightly and push on the mixture to make an even layer across the top.

Step 7: Place back in the freezer for about a half hour to become fully solid. 

Step 8: Remove from freezer and take bars out of pan using the parchment or wax paper as leverage.  Place on large cutting board and cut with sharp knife.  I cut mine into 9 equal squares and then cut each of those into 3 bars (about the size of a fun-sized mini candy bar).

Step 9: Melt remaining ¼ of chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over bars, or if you are short on time, place ¼ cup of chocolate chips on top of peanut butter layer after Step 6 (before placing in freezer to set).

Step 10: Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve or give as gifts

 

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have!

Wendy

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