Never heard of amaranth? Well you’re about to fall in love with this superfood. Amaranth is an ancient Aztec grain that boasts health benefits similar to that of quinoa. It’s a naturally gluten-free, plant-based protein source that will keep you full while providing a healthy dose of fiber to keep your digestive system happy. Here, we use the nutrient-dense ingredient in an easy, on-the-go snack that you can grab for a nutritious bite as you head out the door. To make our Dark Chocolate and Cranberry Amaranth Bars, follow the recipe below.
- 2 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup smooth almond butter
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup amaranth grain
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup salted cashews, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup instant oats, toasted
- 1/4 tsp ground sea salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup dulce de leche sauce, warmed
- Place one cup of the chocolate chips in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.
- Mix maple syrup and honey in medium-sized saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer five to six minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add almond butter, three teaspoons of the cinnamon, and two teaspoons of the vanilla and mix well. Set mixture aside.
- Heat a large frypan on medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of the amaranth, then cover and cook about 30 seconds or until most of the grains have popped. (The popped grains will look like slightly larger, small white beads.) Immediately transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth. (Should yield about two cups of popped amaranth.)
- Add coconut, cranberries, cashews, toasted oats, and sea salt to popped amaranth in bowl and mix well. Add almond butter mixture, and stir to coat all ingredients. Allow mixture to cool slightly, then stir in frozen chocolate chips.
- Gently press amaranth mixture into bottom of foil-lined 12 x 8-inch baking pan, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Place pan in refrigerator to chill.
- Meanwhile, bring cream just to boil in small saucepan. Stir in remaining one teaspoon each of cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over remaining 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in medium heatproof bowl.
- Let stand 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Pour chocolate sauce evenly over chilled amaranth dessert. Refrigerate two to three hours or until chocolate is set.
- Use foil handles to remove chilled dessert from pan onto cutting board. Drizzle top of dessert with warm dulce de leche. Let stand until dulce de leche is set. Cut into bars.
This recipe originally appeared on our sister site, Food to Love.