the taste space

Nut-Free Puffed Quinoa Treats

Posted in Desserts by Janet M on April 9, 2013

Nut-Free Puffed Quinoa Treats

I mentioned this in passing… I wasn’t going to share this… not because it tasted bad (it tasted great) but who wants to admit defeat? So here I am showing you that we all have our kitchen failures. You know those articles: “37 People Who Are Worse at Cooking Than You?“, “Pinterest Food Fails“, “20 Hilarious Pinterest Fails“. They even have websites dedicated to pinterest fails! Well, that includes me, too. ;)

I am not even a Pinterest Fail one-hit wonder. I generally don’t photograph my fails. Like these black bean brownie pancakes (minimal subs, I swear), mint chocolate chip protein cookies (no subs, I blame it partially on not liking Sunwarrior’s vanilla and maybe my coconut flour) or these buckeyes (I made a few subs for this one, so I will try again, methinks). But this one was still tasty, so I photographed my flop.

I wasn’t even trying to go fancy. A craving for peanut butter rice krispie treats had me perusing blogs for the perfect way to use some puffed quinoa. I eventually picked Angela’s Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats. I settled on half a recipe because I didn’t want to make too much, but still made some a lot of changes. I used a bit less puffed quinoa because I figured there would be a higher surface area, and also decreased the sweetener (swapping in agave for her brown rice syrup), switched coconut oil for the Earth balance, ditched flax for chia, and swapped pumpkin seed butter for the almond butter (I like that pumpkin seed butter has less calories, more iron, similar or more protein than other nut butters but has a taste reminiscent of peanut butter). This seemed like a simple, malleable dessert, so I ran with it.

Nut-Free Puffed Quinoa Treats

After a minute on the stovetop on medium heat, my wet ingredients suddenly seized, changing from a melty pourable liquid into a harder taffy-like spread. Oops, I think my heat was too high? I trudged onwards, stirring in the chia even though it looked pretty sturdy and then tried to mix in the puffed quinoa. I had to mix it with my hands: I could see this going nowhere fast with a spoon. Instead of pulling out parchment paper or more oil, I figured I could freeform the bars on my silpat. I still don’t think it was that bad of an idea, although lots of untrapped quinoa puffs rolled over my counter. :( I even flipped the silpat in half to smooch it together from both sides. In retrospect rolling them into balls might have been better.

In the end, my bars, or crumbles, don’t look anything like picture-perfect Angela’s. But they were still delicious, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon within a peanut taffy studded with puffed quinoa treat. Not crispy, more chewy. In retrospect, that was how I liked rice krispie treats back in the day: less rice, more mallow, please. If only they were a bit more portable-friendly for my upcoming cycling jaunts.

Nut-Free Puffed Quinoa Treats

PS, Can anyone spot a fatal flaw in my approach? Did the heat seize the pumpkin seed butter mixture?

PPS, Comparing this to my previous Peanutty Energy Bars, this version has a better carbs:protein ratio (3:1) and 1/4 recipe has 157 calories, 15g carbs, 6g protein and 9g fat (and 31% of my iron!). I was going to add protein powder like in Ange’s energy bar, but abandoned the idea after it seized. :( I also might toy with the idea of adding pumpkin puree, date puree or chocolate next time, too. Or maybe I should stick to my easy raw treats?

This is my submission to this month’s Eat Make Grow for failures in the kitchen and to Healthy Me, Healthy Us.

Puffed Quinoa Treats
Inspired by Oh She Glows

1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter (or your favourite nut butter – almond butter would work well)
2 tbsp agave
1.5 tsp vanilla
1.5 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground chia (or flax)
1.5 cups puffed quinoa (you could add/substitute other mixins’ too like chopped nuts and dried fruit)

1. In a small pot over low heat, melt the pumpkin seed butter, agave, vanilla, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Once melted and blended, stir in the ground chia and puffed quinoa. Mix until well combined. I used my hands.

2. Working quickly, spread the mixture into an oiled or lined loaf pan or equivalent container. Refrigerate to cool. Cut into bars or crumble to add to your breakfast or desserts.

Serves 4.

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19 Responses

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  1. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on April 9, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    Heat would be my guess! But I am the queen of kitchen mishaps so I’m probably not the best person to ask ;)

    I think these crumbles look great though- I would love to sprinkle them on top of my green smoothies!

  2. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table said, on April 9, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    I had no idea there was a site dedicated to Pinterest fails. This may have just rendered my work day unproductive. Lol! I fail ALL the time. I am totally unable to make a omelette and I throw away as many baked goods as I post. Such is life.

    Must find pumpkin seed butter!

  3. Johanna GGG said, on April 9, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I could add a few of my own photos to pinterest fails :-) I would have gone ahead and tried your changes without a care in the world and been surprised that it seized – I just don’t have the dedication to test recipes over and over but the pumpkin seed butter sounds interesting

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 9, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Yeah, I agree.. I have no patience to test and retest new recipes… thoroughly content with trying something and then moving on. Although I am more likely to retry to make something if it doesn’t work and I wanted something different. ;)

  4. Joanne said, on April 9, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I’ve had many a pinterest fail before also…they just don’t make it to the blog lol! But as long as they taste good…who really cares. :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on April 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      For sure! I feel like it is easier to fail with the pretty desserts than the savoury soups and salads, haha, which is my bread and butter. :)

  5. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts said, on April 10, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Ah, those picture perfect people. I’m sure they have their share of flops too! And besides, sometimes messy is just a way to eat all of a delicious batch yourself. I think these would be in that category :)

    I’m not familiar with pumpkin butter so am not sure what to suggest for future, but I have found snacks like this to be unhelpfully sensitive to heat, so that could be something to play around with (whether it was too hot or too cold for the fussy ingredients I don’t know!).

  6. [...] More than sharing recipes and my experiences in the kitchen, it has morphed into a sort of journal, chronically my adventures with cycling, gardening and whatever life throws at me. Some blogs cater to their readers’ wants…. me, I share what I like and most likely if you are reading, you will like it, too. Or, if I muck things up, I hope to pass on my wisdom. (PS, I loved hearing your confessions about your own kitchen bloopers after my last post) [...]

  7. Hannah said, on April 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Oh how funny; I almost made a version of Angela’s recipe this weekend myself, but ended up with more treats than we could comfortably eat before I got to it. This is TOTALLY my kind of treat, and my kind of fail… cause then I get to eat it all myself with my hands ;)

  8. foyupdate said, on April 29, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Oh I am the queen of subs. One time I made brownies with all brown sugar, olive oil, applesauce and all wheat flour. They actually weren’t too bad. At least they all got eaten which is more than I can say for some of the recipes that became chicken feed and the rare one or two that were so inedible as to go in the garbage. But that’s how you learn, right? Some of the best lessons start with a fail!

  9. […] Blog Post Detailing The Experience: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/nut-free-puffed-quinoa-treats/ […]

  10. shakti said, on July 6, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Love this one.. I have not seen nor heard of pumpkin nut butter in Ireland (rural south) and doubt it, even for Dublin! The idea of less calories appeals but, the realisation of iron easily found like this is of huge interest as I come back with low iron from blood tests repeatedly. The puffed quinoa is another item I have not heard of, and wondered if it was possible to ‘puff’ it myself!
    I do like the idea of these but it because of the nutrients, especially iron, my much loved quinoa, less calories and of course, the taste. Has anyone got any ideas for me, oh, and please note my cooking is variable……..from quite complex recipes to making a mess of the new and simple until I see how it all works for me. The only thing left that potential victims (anyone sitting at the table) has to worry about is what mood I am in and/or when I get the ‘fit of experimental verve’ and that can send strong men running for the hills!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on July 6, 2013 at 3:54 PM

      Hi Shakti, Nice to meet you. I went with the wacky ingredients that had accumulated in my pantry but feel free to try the original recipe with peanut butter and puffed rice. I have made my own nut butters but heard it is difficult to make pumpkin seed butter at home… and gosh only knows how to make puffed quinoa at home (I have made puffed amaranth but that wouldn’t work here). Experiments in the kitchen sound fun – please let me know how it goes. :)
      (Also if you still want to find the funny ingredients, iherb may ship internationally)

  11. […] was really curious to try them out. Not only to see whether it would be better than my last puffed quinoa treat, but I was curious about using coconut sugar as a […]

  12. […] protein energy bars, banana bread protein bars, and more. She is the Queen of Granola Treats. Previously, I had difficulties with her almond butter rice crisp treats which was probably due to too many […]


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