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.



Healthy Star Crunch Cookies

13 Best AIP Travel Snacks

aip travel snacks

These are some tried and true AIP snacks that you can buy online, if you don’t have access to a Whole Foods or similar health food store. I’ve also included ways to make these snacks more substantial and well-rounded in the descriptions of each!

My go-to online vendors for AIP & Paleo snacks and pantry staples are WILD MOUNTAIN PALEO,  THRIVE,   AND AMAZON!

1. Epic Bison & Cranberry Bars

Slightly sweet and smokey protein bar with no grains, nuts, or seeds! Layer avocado slices on top, and serve with a side of crunchy raw vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, radish, and jicama. Epic also makes a Bacon bar that is AIP-friendly!

2. Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips– Top with sliced avocado, black olives, and shredded rotisserie chicken for travel-friendly nachos on the run. I’ve also used them to scoop up homemade AIP hummus, tzatziki, and babaghanoush, which are all recipes inThe Healing Kitchen. Have leftovers? Try one of my 3 recipes featuring my favorite chip:BBQ Nachos,Fried Avocado with Garlic Aioli, and Fish Sticks.

3. Artisina Coconut Butter Packets– Slather on pre-cooked sweet potatoes or apple slices with cinnamon, coconut oil or ghee, and crumbled bacon.

4.Freeze Dried Blueberriesor Strawberries – rehydrate in coconut milk, stir in toasted coconut flakes, and cinnamon for an on-the-go AIP cereal that won’t perish!

5.Sea Snax– slightly salty dried seaweed snacks can be served with avocado, precooked baby shrimp, and coconut aminos for portable AIP sushi!


6.Organic Apple Butter– 100% apples! Smooth and holds up enough as a dip for banana chips (find ones fried in coconut oil) or even fresh apples. Toss with shredded organic rotisserie chicken and microwaved chopped bacon for a full meal.

7.Wild Planet Wild Alaskan Salmon– Mix together with mashed avocado, lime, and sea salt and serve with cucumber slices, jicama sticks, in lettuce wraps, or Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips.

8.Wild Planet Sardines– Tender and not incredibly fishy tasting ‘dines to ensure travel days don’t mean low-nutrient snacking! Serve on Yucan Crunch  with avocado slices.

9.Yucan Crunch– crispy crackers made entirely of yucca root. I made Sugar-Free Chocolate Covered Wafers with mine, but I’ve also topped with avocado, lime and sea salt and with coconut oil and cinnamon! AND you can buy Yucan Crunch on Amazon now!!!


10.Pork Clouds Rosemary & Sea Salt– AIP pork rinds with delicate rosemary and fried in olive oil! Portion controlled mini bags keep things quick & easy. Serve with prosciutto,Zucchini Cheese, green olives, and roasted garlic (usually found at salad bars) for a mini charcuterie platter!


These little coconut macaroon/energy balls are my ideal snack food because they have equal parts fat, protein & carbs! They contain 12g of collagen protein per pack + the flavors are seriously out of this world. Power Balls are one of the only “treats” I have every week because even though they taste like dessert, they’re just a great way to get gut-healing collagen and fat in your diet (and your purse… and on the airplane… and when you’re hangry at the post office.)

12.Wild Zora Lamb & Veggie Jerky– these tasty jerky bars contain 9 anti-inflammatory vegetables and herbs including turmeric and garlic, making them perfect snack for the AIP Girl’s purse!
If you like Epic bars, but wish they had more nutrition in them, you will LOVE these beef and organ jerky strips lightly sweetened with sunflower-free cranberries and blackberry honey. What’s even more amazing is that you’ll get grassfed beef heart and kidney in them along with your favorite typical grass fed beef. I am SO excited about this new product that was specifically designed by the company for people with autoimmune disease – how amazing is that!?!? You can get them on Wild Mountain Paleo along with tons of other Paleo & AIP Items for a great discount. Check out their AIP Section!

Crispy Plantain Tots (Paleo, AIP, Whole30, Vegan)


Tots are one of those words that Millenials can’t take seriously anymore thanks to Napolean Dynamite. If you haven’t seen that movie, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately I have seen it several times, but thankfully zero times in the last 11 years. In the movie, Napolean sneaks tots from the cafeteria via his nasty linty pocket into his classroom. He refuses to share them with his pleading friend because he is a tool. I shared my tots with  my husband, and it was my good deed for the day. If you want to share your tots, then I suggest doubling the recipe, because I was pretty pissed once I agreed to give him 3 out of 9 tots. That’s a 33% tot allotment, and I think I should get paid for that. $27 sounds about right. 


These tots are of the crispier variety because instead of finely grating the plantain such as you would a traditional tater tot, I decided to spiralize them then chop them into teeny shoe-string pieces. That helps the oil penetrate the tot easier and more quickly ensuring you do not get soggy tot middles. Nobody likes soggy tot middles. These are pan-fried but that doesn’t mean you need a ton of oil. I do not like recipes that call for a cup or more of my precious oil. If it’s a choice between paying rent and eating pan-fried Paleo tots, I’d rather not sleep in the rain. In fact, I usually don’t make Paleo recipes because I find them to be a bit too expensive, especially cookbook ones. When Sarah and I decided to get picky about the types of recipes in The Healing Kitchen, we knew they had to be budget-friendly with easy-to-find ingredients. So practically every recipe in that book includes only ingredients you’ll find at the perimeter of an average grocery store along with some pantry staples like olives, herbs, olive/coconut oil, and vinegar. 


Speaking of The Healing Kitchen, we are working on our book tour dates right now! We should know which cities we’re hitting up and when by early November! We’ll likely do a release party in December and then a book tour in January once things settle down after the holidays. I’m so looking forward to meeting some of you awesome people in person, especially those of you who’ve emailed back & forth with me, commented on Facebook/Instagram posts, or share your photos of my recipes. I feel like I know so many of you already! It will be a blast so stay tuned on that news!


Crispy kid-friendly tots made with a spiralizer & healthy olive oil!



Crispy Plantain Tots

Prep Time 00:10 Cook Time 00:05 Serves 2


  • 1 green plantain
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil, plus additional for frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


  1. Peel plantains and slice them in half widthwise, which will make spiralizing them easier.pan>

  2. Spiralize each plantain half. Depending on which model spiralizer you own, use the blade that you would use to make zucchini noodles. Transfer all the plantain noodles (they will be rather short) to a cutting board.pan>

  3. Finely chop the noodles into small pieces (see photo) and place in a bowl.pan>

  4. Stir in olive oil, sea salt and onion powder.pan>

  5. With wet hands, form 1-inch long tater tots using a heaping tablespoon of the mixture until all the mixture is used up. You should get 8 to 10 tots.pan>

  6. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil. Turn stove on to medium heat and heat oil until hot enough to make a droplet of water sizzle (be careful!)pan>

  7. Carefully place each tot in the oil and fry on all sides for 2 minutes per side. You may only need to fry the top and bottom of each plantain depending on the thickness, or you may want to briefly fry the sides for the crispiest tots.pan>

  8. Remove with a spoon to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with additional sea salt. Serve immediately.pan>