These indulgent bars star popped amaranth, an ancient grain, paired with crunchy cashews, toasted oats and tart cranberries. Flaked coconut, cinnamon and vanilla balances the rich dark chocolate topping and sweet dulce de leche drizzle.
2 1/2 cups (625 milliliters) Dark chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Salted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Quick-cooking oats, toasted
1/4 tsps (1 milliliters) Club House French Mediterranean Sea Salt
1 cup (250 milliliters) Whipping (35%) cream
1/3 cup (75 milliliters) Dulce de leche sauce, warmed
1 cup (250 milliliters) Maple syrup
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Billy Bee Honey
1 cup (250 milliliters) Smooth almond butter
4 tsps (20 milliliters) Club House Ground Cinnamon, divided
1 cup (250 milliliters) Unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup (125 milliliters) Dried cranberries or cherries, coarsely chopped
Place 1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips in re-sealable plastic bag or airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.
Mix maple syrup and honey in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add almond butter, 3 tsp (15 mL) cinnamon and 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla; mix well. Set aside. Heat large skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) amaranth; cover and cook, shaking pan frequently, for about 30 seconds, or until most of the grains have popped. (The popped grains will look like small white beads.) Immediately transfer to large bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth in 2 tbsp (30 mL) batches. (Should have about 2 cups/500 mL popped amaranth.) Add coconut, cranberries, cashews, toasted oats and sea salt to popped amaranth in large bowl; mix well. Add almond butter mixture; stir to coat all ingredients. Allow mixture to cool slightly. Stir in frozen chocolate chips. Gently press amaranth mixture into bottom of foil-lined 13x9-in (34x22 cm) baking pan, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Cover and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, bring cream just to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) each cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over remaining 1 ½ cups (375 mL) chocolate chips in medium heatproof bowl. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Pour chocolate sauce evenly over chilled amaranth dessert. Refrigerate 2 to 3 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.
• Amaranth is an ancient seed from South America, rich in protein, fiber and vitamins, with an earthy, nutty flavor and crunchy texture. It can be found in natural foods stores, the organic section of the supermarket, bulk food stores or online specialty stores. Toasting oats enhances their flavor and gives them a nutty brown color and crispy texture. To toast oats, heat a small nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add oats; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately pour out of hot pan to avoid over-toasting.