May 23, 2022

Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

If you're looking for the perfect treat to satisfy your sweet tooth that is indulgent but made with healthier ingredients, these 2-3 bite candy bars are it! They are a textural delight and are made with almond butter, puffed quinoa and chocolate.

Why I Love These Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

I like to call these "the compromise candy bar" because it was actually a compromise between myself and Alejandra. As an avid sweets fan, I am always down for something sweet and ever since stepping “off the line” and leaving my job as a restaurant chef, I have become a much bigger fan of baking and pastry work. With this recipe, I wanted to recreate one of my favorite creations at my last restaurant, The Cracker Jack Candy Bar, but Alejandra doesn’t like peanut butter and wanted something healthier, even if it would be a dessert. Being the loving partner that I am, instead of whipping up a dessert for only myself to enjoy, I decided to make a compromise.

For the base of the chocolate bar, I replaced my typical peanut brittle that I usually use with a mixture of single-origin dark chocolate, almond butter, coconut oil, and puffed quinoa. This layer, once hardened, provided a nice crunch with a subtly-sweet and nutty flavor. To replace the typical peanut butter mousse that I usually pipe on as the second layer, I made a velvety mousse using the same dark chocolate. The result was surprisingly delicious.

The flavors worked perfectly and had just the right amount of sweetness to fulfill a dessert craving but also had enough sustenance to tell your brain you weren’t digesting empty calories. While the flavor was much better than I expected, the true stars were the textures. The light and airy mousse (even when frozen) were the perfect complements to the chocolate base, and the little specks of puffed quinoa added a pleasant surprise to the consumer, similar to the effect the puffed rice has in a Crunch Bar.

Ingredients for Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

  • Almond Butter: I’ve found that the absolute best almond butter for this recipe is a coconut almond butter but you can use your favorite almond butter instead.
  • Oil: I like to use coconut oil here because it reinforces the coconut flavor from the almond butter, and it's a healthier ingredient. Make sure the coconut oil is liquid at room temperature, or you may have to heat it slightly to use it. If you prefer to use another oil, olive, canola, peanut, or most other neutral-flavored oils are an acceptable replacement.
  • Chocolate: I like to use 60% dark chocolate chips or disks, but if you prefer to use lighter chocolate that will also work. The same can be said for using darker chocolate as well.
  • Puffed Quinoa: You can puff your own quinoa but you can usually purchase it from your local grocery store or specialty-foods store. If you want to use something as a replacement for puffed quinoa, cereals such as Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes work well.
  • Meringue: While you don’t have to use the meringue to help lighten the mousse, I certainly recommend it because it helps maintain that “Semi-Frozen” texture when frozen and also creates a pleasant and airy texture like nothing else. If you are skipping the meringue, bump the amount of heavy cream from a ½ cup up to 1 ¼ cup.
  • Heavy Cream: This is not the place to try and cut calories by using half and half or milk. Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is necessary because you need the full-fat content to whip the cream to soft peaks.

Steps for Making the Bars

While this recipe could appear quite complicated from the outside looking in, once you break it up, it really isn't that complicated at all. Essentially, the recipe involves two parts:

  1. Creating the bottom layer: In creating the bottom layer, essentially all you are doing is melting chocolate, thinning out your almond butter, combining the melted chocolate and almond butter, and mixing in the puffed quinoa for some crunch.
  2. Creating the top layer: When you break down what the top layer of the candy bar is, you realize that it is simply a chocolate mousse. To make the mousse, merely make an Italian Meringue, which is a mixture of egg whites and sugar where you cook the sugar before adding to the egg whites so that the egg whites cook and become more stable, then melt the remaining chocolate, whip some cream, and gently combine all the ingredients.

Tips for Making the Best Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

  1. Allow egg whites to sit: Before whipping your egg whites, allow them to sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes so that they warm slightly. This will make them easier to whip. Do the exact opposite for the heavy cream and make sure that it is as cold as possible before whipping.
  2. Be gentle with the meringue: When making the meringue, try not to agitate the pot when making the syrup if the syrup travels up the side of the pot when cooking, then sugar particles could get stuck on the sides of the pot and burn or cause the rest of the sugar crystals to crystallize.

This is definitely a dessert that you'll want to try.

Cheers and eat well!

Almond Butter and Puffed Quinoa Chocolate Mousse Bars

If you're looking for the perfect treat to satisfy your sweet tooth that is indulgent but made with healthier ingredients, these 2-3 bite candy bars are it! They are a textural delight and are made with almond butter, puffed quinoa and chocolate.















  • ⅔ cups of Almond Butter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (liquid)
  • 13 ounces of chocolate (60% dark chocolate disks)
  • 1 cup of store-bought puffed/popped quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 ounces of sugar
  • 2 ounces of water
  • ½ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Pan spray your silicone candy bar molds or line a 8 inch by 8 inch pan with parchment paper and spray it with pan spray, and set aside.

Bottom Layer: (8 minutes cooking) (30 minutes rest)

  1. Prepare a double boiler by placing a bowl that fits nice and securely on the top of a pot and fill that pot with 4 inches of water. Bring the water to a low simmer and melt  7 ounces of your chocolate, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
  2. While the chocolate is melting, add the almond butter to the bowl fitted for your stand mixer and mix on a low speed with the whisk attachment for about 20 seconds to soften.
  3. Stream in the liquid coconut oil and continue to whisk until all of the oil is evenly combined into the almond butter and the almond butter is thinner than before.
  4. Once the almond butter has been thinned and the chocolate is melted, stream the melted chocolate into the almond butter and continue to mix on a low speed until all the chocolate is combined. (Keep your double-boiler and bowl for melting more chocolate)
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold the puffed quinoa into the chocolate and almond butter mixture.
  6. Once combined, immediately transfer the mixture into either your candy bar molds or the prepared 8-inch pan from earlier. Press the mixture down flat so that it forms a nice even layer. If you are using the molds, you should fill them about 1/3rd of the way up.
  7. Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes or until it becomes firm.

Top Layer: (25 minutes cooking) (4 hours rest)

  1. Once the bottom layer has hardened, you will make the top layer by first creating an Italian Meringue using the sugar/water/egg whites.
  2. Separate the 2 eggs so that the whites have no yolk in them whatsoever.
  3. Add them to the mixing bowl in your stand mixer, fitted with the whip attachment (make sure they are completely clean).
  4. Begin whipping on the lowest speed setting.
  5. While whipping, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  6. Heat the sugar/water mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a steady simmer. Once simmering, adjust the heat to achieve a consistent, steady simmer.
  7. Continue to cook the syrup until you reach 235 F on a candy thermometer (about 6 minutes).
  8. Adjust the speed of your mixer, with the egg whites in it, to medium speed, and continue to whip the egg whites until they reach soft peaks.
  9. Once the syrup has reached 235 F, remove it from the stove, and, with the mixer running at a medium speed, slowly add the cooked syrup in a thin stream to the egg whites until all the syrup is incorporated.
  10. Continue to mix the egg whites on a low speed until they become stiff and glossy and the bottom of the mixing bowl is room temperature. (When you add the syrup to the mixing bowl, the bowl will become hot. Keep whipping the egg whites on a low speed until the bowl has cooled back down to room temperature, about 10 minutes.)
  11. While the mixture is whipping, start melting the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate using a double-boiler. Add the salt to the chocolate.
  12. Once the meringue has cooled, remove the meringue from the bowl using a rubber spatula and set it aside.
  13. Wash the mixing bowl and whisk attachment, and add the heavy cream, along with the vanilla extract, to the bowl. Whip on a medium speed until the cream reaches soft peaks.
  14. Once the chocolate has melted, gently fold the Italian meringue into the melted chocolate, being careful not to deflate the meringue too much.
  15. Once all the meringue is mixed into the chocolate, repeat the same process, this time adding the whipped cream.
  16. Once all cream is incorporated and the mixture has become a uniform color with no remaining streaks, transfer the chocolate mousse onto the bottom layer of your candy bars and gently tap the pan to remove air pockets. If you are using the candy bar molds, transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe the mousse into the molds. Use an off-set spatula to ensure the mousse is flush along the molds.
  17. Transfer the pan/molds into the freezer and freeze for at least 4 hours or until the bars are solid.
  18. To serve, remove the pan from the freezer and remove the entire block of bars by loosening the parchment paper and flipping the whole block onto a cutting board. Cut the bars to your desired size.
  19. Enjoy them frozen.


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