Healthy Star Crunch Cookies

Feeling nostalgic? Try these Healthy Star Crunch cookies – a nourishing and gluten-free, dairy-free take on everyone’s favorite chewy caramel chocolate covered cookie!

 

Healthy Star Crunch Cookies - Gluten Free and Dairy Free - Grazed and Enthused

 

I recently asked on Instagram what Little Debbies nostalgic 90s treat everyone missed the most. An overwhelming majority said Star Crunch, so I had to get to work to create a gluten-free, dairy-free Healthy Star Crunch Cookie everyone could enjoy.

 

Before I got started attempting this recipe, I checked out the ingredient list for the boxed Star Crunch Cookies. Oh em gee – not surprisingly – a lot of processed, nutrient poor chemicals stuffed into one delicious little chocolate caramel cookie.

 

I just can’t get behind about 97% of those ingredients – especially polysorbate, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, soy flour and the first ingredient being SUGAR. Ha! No wonder they taste so good.


I adapted my Healthy Rice Krispie Treats recipe for this Star Crunch Cookie recipe but changed up a couple ingredients and the ratios. The end result is a dense, chewy, no-bake chocolate-coated caramel rice cookie, and I seriously couldn’t stop going back for more bites.

 

Healthy Star Crunch Cookies - Grazed and Enthused - Gluten Free and Dairy Free

 

Ingredients in Healthy Star Crunch Cookies:

  • Organic, sprouted crisp rice cereal: I use the One Degree Organics brand which has less than 1 g of sugar per serving and uses organic, sprouted rice. It’s quite possibly the most consciously made cereal I can find.

  • Unsalted tahini: the neutral tasting base for the quick caramel. You can sub cashew butter, if needed.

  • Maple syrup: I choose organic maple syrup which is quite rich in minerals and has a natural golden caramel taste. Quality matters here!

  • Coconut oil: Helps the cookies firm up in the fridge and replaces the rancid oils in the original recipe.

  • Collagen peptides: Collagen adds to the stickiness and thickness of the caramel, so do not leave it out. You can grab collagen peptides at many healthy grocery stores or on Amazon or Thrive Market.

  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips: I use Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips for this recipe. You could use dark chocolate, but they won’t be as reminiscent of your childhood favorite (which uses milk chocolate).

  • Shredded Coconut: This gives the cookies more of that chewy texture. I prefer unsweetened since the maple and chocolate provides plenty of sweetness.

  • Vanilla extract and sea salt

 

The only cooking materials you need for this recipe are a small saucepan, a mixing bowl and a parchment lined cookie sheet. To create perfectly round Star Crunch Cookies without a sticky mess, I highly recommend using a 2-inch Biscuit Cutter. I use to make my yummy Gluten Free Protein Breakfast Cookies as well.

 

 

Tips for making Homemade Star Crunch Cookies:

  1. Use a stainless steel saucepan for even and quick heating and continuously stir your tahini caramel mixture so it does not have a chance to burn.

  2. Remove your caramel from the heat if it starts to foam or separate. You don’t want the fats separating prior to mixing in your crisp rice cereal.

  3. Use a rubber spatula to scrape every last bit of caramel from the saucepan. This is a smart way to make sure you get all your wet ingredients (tahini, maple and coconut oil) out of their measuring cups too.

  4. When forming the cookies, use the back of a spoon or clean hands to firmly compact the mixture together in the biscuit cutter. This is how you’ll get denser, chewier cookies.

  5. Make sure your cookies have set completely before gently dipping in the melted chocolate, or they could fall apart.

  6. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave – just make sure when you’re dipping the cookies that you’re using a shallow bowl.

 

I hope this recipe satisfies those nostalgic cravings for an after school 90s treat. Maybe you can throw on a little Animaniacs while listening to 98 Degrees and really take a journey back into a much simpler time. We all need that right now.

 
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Healthy Star Crunch Cookies

Gluten-Free Sunbutter Twix Bars

 

Gluten-free sunbutter twix bars made nut-free, dairy-free and Paleo! You’ll love the salted sunbutter caramel, grain-free shortbread crust and simple dark chocolate coating.

 

Gluten Free Paleo Sunbutter Twix

 

My stubborn personality is serving us all well today because it took me four tries to get these seriously-close-to-the-real-thing (my husband says BETTER) gluten-free twix bars down pat. I wanted the crispiness of a traditional shortbread cookie (which was not easy to recreate grain-free and dairy-free) along with the perfect texture of caramel (not too gooey, also dairy-free) and the correct ratio of dark chocolate:caramel filling.

 

AND I SUCCEEDED! Trust me – I have a lot of recipe fails you never see. I need to celebrate my few wins 😉 Even though there are three different components, it’s really a simple recipe with minimal ingredients and all that can be found at most grocery stores.

 

Okay let’s chat ingredients for these healthy Twix bars:

  • Grain-Free Cookie Crust:

    • Organic Gemini Tigernut Flour: this keeps the recipe nut-free. You can sub almond flour, if needed, but they don’t have an exact 1:1 ratio in every recipe.

    • Organic Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour: a highly absorbent grain-free flour that gives the cookie crust it’s drier texture.

    • Coconut Oil: a dairy-free plant-based oil to replace butter. You can use grassfed ghee as well.

    • Maple Syrup: a lovely neutral-flavor sweetener that I prefer to honey for this recipe

  • Salted Sunbutter Caramel

    • Organic Sunbutter: use an unsalted and unsweetened sunbutter

    • Coconut Cream: skim the cream off the top of a can of coconut milk to keep this caramel dairy-free

    • Maple Syrup: a vegan, nutrient-dense sweetener

    • Sea Salt: to create a salty rich sunflower seed butter caramel

  • Dark Chocolate Coating

    • Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips: these melt down beautifully to a creamy dark chocolate coating

    • Coconut Oil: just half a teaspoon prevents the hardened chocolate from cracking when you bite into it

 

gluten free sunbutter twix

 

 

How to make these Paleo Sunbutter Twix Bars:

  1. Make the cookie crust: Combine the tigernut and coconut flours, softened (but not melted) coconut oil, vanilla and maple syrup. Press into a parchment-lined 7×5″ glass baking dish. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes until a light golden brown.

  2. Meanwhile, make the salted sunbutter caramel: In a small saucepan, bring the coconut cream and maple to a low boil. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes until golden and syrupy. Stir in the sunbutter and let cook on low, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, for a couple more minutes until you get a thick caramel.

  3. Allow the cookie crust to cool for 10 minutes and then carefully spread the caramel on top. Refrigerate until very firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. Slice into 5 to 6  slices widthwise and then in half to create 10 to 12 mini Twix bars. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden before coating in melted dark chocolate. This will allow the chocolate to harden more quickly and the bars won’t be as delicate while dipping.

  4. Make the chocolate coating by melting the dark chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir in the coconut oil. Using two large spoons, lower the mini twix bars into the melted chocolate, carefully coating on all sides. Return to the parchment paper and repeat. Refrigerate to harden. Enjoy!

 

sunbutter paleo gluten-free twix bar

 

FAQS on Gluten-Free Twix Bars

1. Do I need to use the same size baking dish?

Yes, ideally you should use a small glass baking dish like the 3-cup Pyrex dish I used in this recipe. Anything bigger and your cookie crust could be too thin and delicate. When pressed into the baking dish, the crust should be about 1/3-inch high. You could certainly double the recipe ingredients and bake in a larger dish, but you’ll need to adjust the bake time and watch closely.

2. Can I swap out the flours?

I don’t recommend swapping out the coconut flour. It gives the bars the heft and density they need to hold up to dipping. You could try subbing out the tigernut with almond flour but of course they will no longer be nut-free. I also find tigernut absorbs a bit more liquid than almond flour. The texture of the crust should be slightly drier than cookie dough

3. Can I use a different seed or nut butter?

Yes! Choose a creamy, unsweetened and unsalted nut butter like cashew or almond. You could even try coconut butter to make these seed-free too, but it’s not quite as creamy.

4. Do I have to fully coat the bars in chocolate?

No, you do not – I actually coated half of them in dark chocolate and the other half I just spread the melted chocolate on top as the top layer, allowing it to drip down the sides. This is a good option if you want a lower sugar treat or if you’re short on chocolate chips.

 

Lastly, if you love sunbutter and chocolate together, you need to try my no-cook Healthy Rice Krispie Treats!

 

Any other questions? Ask them below in the comments! Have fun with these!

 

Grain Free Paleo Twix Bars

 

 

 
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gluten free sunbutter twix