A very Canadian, very prairie treat, puffed wheat squares are a staple on the dainties tray in Manitoba at any events or get-togethers. These were a favourite for me growing up and this version is made a bit healthier with peanut butter, dates, and honey.
If you’ve never had a puffed wheat square, it’s a chewy chocolate treat with (you guessed it) puffed wheat forming the base. Unlike rice crispies, they’re not crisp at all – if you’ve tried my puffed quinoa bars, it’s very close in texture to that.
It’s a special dessert. Very nostalgic, but also modernised here with some ingredient changes. These are puffed wheat squares without corn syrup, and they’re just as chewy and delicious as the original. These make a great snack for adults and kids alike, are no-bake, and very simple.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Peanut butter: pure peanuts, with no oil or sugar added. If the peanut butter contains salt, omit the added salt in the recipe. Another nut or seed butter can be used in place of the peanut butter. Try hazelnut butter for a nutella twist, or sunflower seed butter for a nut-free version.
- Honey: creamed or liquid, it doesn’t matter. To make fully vegan squares, you can use maple syrup or something like coconut nectar. I find the stick factor of honey to be important here, but if you don’t mind slightly crumbly bars, maple syrup can be used. It might work with date syrup, but you would have a fairly strong molasses flavour. Brown rice syrup works well.
- Coconut oil: use refined to avoid any slight coconut flavour if preferred. Another oil can’t be subbed in place of coconut. It must be something that’s solid at room temperature to ensure the correct texture (one that holds together). Butter is normally used in puffed wheat squares.
- Cocoa: raw cacao and regular baking cocoa (not drinking cocoa) can be used interchangeably. There is a slight flavour variation so use whatever you like most.
- Puffed wheat: this is very easy to find in Canada, and increasingly available in Europe. Make sure it’s unsweetened, not breakfast cereal.
Step by Step
Step 1: add the oil, honey, peanut butter, and date paste to a pot.
Step 2: heat on low until melted.
Step 3: stir the cocoa into the mix.
Step 4: add the puffed wheat and press into a baking dish. Chill and slice.
To soften the dates, soak in freshly boiled water for 10-15 minutes, or hot water from the tap for about an hour. Either mash very well with a fork, or puree with a small blender.
Don’t leave out the dates. If anything, add more honey if you can’t find dates to use for the recipe – they’re important in making everything stick together. I haven’t tested with only honey and no dates so you’d have to experiment a bit.
The size of the container isn’t so terribly important. It just means the bars will be a bit thicker or thinner, though they should be pretty thick.
How to Store
Storage: keep the bars in a sealed container at room temperature for 2-3 days. I prefer to keep these in the refrigerator for best texture.
Freezing: place the bars in an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
More No-Bake Treats
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Peanut Butter Puffed Wheat Squares
- 200 grams natural peanut butter
- 100 grams dates mashed or pureed
- 80 grams honey
- 60 grams coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 25 grams cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 200 grams puffed wheat
- Line a 20cm (8 in.) baking dish* with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the peanut butter, date puree, honey, coconut oil, and vanilla to a large pot.200 grams natural peanut butter, 100 grams dates, 80 grams honey, 60 grams coconut oil, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Heat until just melted, stirring constantly. Once the mixture comes together and the oil has melted, immediately remove from the heat.
- Stir in the cocoa and salt, mixing to combine.25 grams cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Add the puffed wheat and stir, using a spatula, until fully coated in the peanut butter mixture.200 grams puffed wheat
- Turn the puffed wheat mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press into as even a layer as possible.
- Place the dish into the freezer and chill for at least ten minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes), then lift it out of the dish with the parchment paper and slice into bars.
- Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days, or freeze up to three months. I prefer to keep these in the refrigerator for best texture.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in December 2014. It has been updated with some slight improvements to the recipe as of November 2021.
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