Kids Breakfast: Chocolate Cocoa Puffs ~ GF,DF

Hello SPRING... and hello readers! I am back online and raring to go. If you hadn't really missed me during my "unplugged" month then I get you because I had a few scheduled posts for the month of August so it probably hasn't felt like I've been away. Can I say I thoroughly enjoyed the time being unplugged from the computer, facebook and all types of techno gadgets like pinterest and instagram. My mind felt clearer, I felt less stressed, anxious and unsettled! I was able to just be a mum and a wife and by the end of the month I thoroughly enjoyed it. The first week was torture but after being cleansed from all things internet I felt good. I totally recommend everyone to have a go at doing it.  So you wonder what I did for a month not blogging and all things internet? Well I experimented in the kitchen of course... and these little healthy chocolate cocoa puffs were a result!

Can I just tell you the amount of spare time I had from being away from the computer was outrageous. I couldnt' believe how much time I was really spending on the computer and internet. With the spare time I had on my hands I managed to fit into my routine a time to exercise, a time for quiet times, clean and tidy the house while the little guy was asleep and sit and have a cuppa and watch the birds twittering away or in front of the fire if it was cold. I think I will probably keep this internet free time a permanent fixture for me now.

My little guy turned one at the end of August (will do a post on the big birthday soon) and as I was trying to shovel soggy weetbix into his mouth with unsuccess, it got me thinking to what cereals I loved as a child. I remember fruit loops, rice bubbles and cocoa pops were all in the "special" treats list and we occasionally got these when we went on holidays. I cringe to think how much sugar, colours and preservatives are loaded into these cereals. I do realised kids all have to experience these treats once in there life but to eat them constantly would be a vey bad thing.  I started thinking of how I could create my own special cereal that J.D will be able to eat one day that I would feel comfortable about him eating on a regular basis.

I rummaged through my cupboards to see what I could come up with. I was going to make some kind of muesli but honestly what kid is going to eat that when there are other fun things to eat. I found some brown rice puffs that I had bought for another recipe and knew I was onto something! What about a healthy version of rice bubbles or a cocoa pops? Winner! So I decided to go with the cocoa pops version because hey I like chocoalte cereal just as much as the next kid. The rice puffs were soft so I knew I had to make them go crunch because all good kids cereals do! You know? So with the addition of some coconut oil, cocoa for that chocolatey goodness and last but not least some rice malt syrup for the sweet factor we were all stations go! These are not super sweet so if you think your kids will baulk at the lack of sweetness swap half or all of the rice malt syrup for honey to start of with and maybe slowly transition the amounts to half and half.

Melt, sift, stir, mix, pour and spread onto a baking tray and into the oven they go. One thing I will note is that you need to keep a close eye on these as they cook and go crunchy. If you leave them in to long the rice malt syrup will burn (and it does quickly) and will make the little chocolate cocoa puffs taste acrid and burnt! Not kid friendly. Trust me I did this on my first batch. So a medium to low oven is necessary. Don't be tempted to crank it to get it cooked quicker. Once they are cooked you're done. Let them cool and store in a airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve them with milk or your favourite milk alternative. If you're kids have never tasted cocoa pops then they are in for a treat... if they have well lets hope they like this version just as much as the sugar laden one.

I'll let you in on a little secret too these little babies are gluten & dairy free!

Chocolate Cocoa Puffs
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15min
Makes: 4 cups
  • 4 cups puffed brown rice (usually found in the health food section of your supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup (Add more if you want it a tad sweeter)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat an oven to 150 degrees (fan forced). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a microwavable safe jug place the coconut oil and syrup. Heat in the microwave for 40-50 seconds to melt the oil and syrup. .
  3. Stir the cocoa powder, vanilla and salt into the melted coconut oil until all lumps are removed and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour the coconut and chocolate mixture over the rice puffs and using a wooden spoon stir the rice to coat all the grains and make sure everything is evenly coated.
  5. Divide the mixture between the baking trays and spread out evenly.
  6. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Check and stir the contents. Add back into the oven again for a further 5 minutes. Check and stir again.
  7. Remove and leave for 30 seconds to cool slightly before picking the cocoa puffs up between your fingers and slowly rub together to separate the grains. Be careful this can be quite hot. Do this quickly because when the mixture cools it will become hard and difficult to separate. I recommend removing one tray at a time to do this. If this happens place back in the oven for a minute to soften again.
  8. Place the tray back into the oven and cook for a further 3 minutes.
  9. Remove and separate the grains between your fingers again.
  10. Leave to cool completely on the trays before storing in a airtight container for up to a month.
Cooks Notes:
Keep a close eye on these cocoa puffs when baking as they will burn easily and the whole batch will be ruined.
You could substitute the rice malt syrup with honey or maple syrup for a sweeter version.
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