Dessert, Gluten-free, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Puffed Rice Date Squares [V, GF, Dairy and Sugar Free]

Nicoletta December 9, 2016

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Puffed Rice Date Squares: no-bake, 5 ingredient treats, that are a healthy and delicious snack. Chewy, light, and naturally sweet, they are packed with nutrients and are able to satisfy your sweet craving. 

Puffed Rice Date Squares

Sometimes words on a page just don’t come easily. Sometimes breaking the whiteness of a page or screen and filling it with thoughts and feelings appears like an effort. That’s when taking a step back is the right answer, and for me, in the specific, is to shut down the computer and go to yoga.



Amazing what a yoga class can do. Clear your mind, stretch your muscles, all your muscles, even the brain ones, engage you in the present and let you be. So, my word for today is “surrender”. Surrender to the feeling of “clumsiness” (or inadequacy?) when I start writing in a language that is not mine and words don’t seem to come easily. Surrender to the crazy winter out there, to the minus double digit temperatures that stuck me in the house most of the time. Surrender to life throwing you a couple curve balls and you have to see people you love suffer in times where it should be all joy and cheerfulness for the upcoming Christmas holidays. But that’s the moment I get to live, there’s no changing the past or worrying about the future. Acceptance is the way to go.

Puffed Rice Date Squares

So today I’m surrendering to making a sweet treat that is so simple and delicious in its simplicity, and it is also no bake (really? but I’m all about baking!?!) and packed with nutritious ingredients. A sweet treat that reminds me so much of the Kinder Cereali chocolate bar I used to love and eat when in Italy but haven’t found here yet. And actually it all began with a bag of puffed rice I bought at Eataly in Rome on our last trip, that I wanted to use to make some kind of “healthier” and less sweet Kinder Cereali bar. Loreto says that I turn into an excited kid when I see a Kinder chocolate, and that is true, I am ashamed to say, and also weird because for the rest I am a dark chocolate kind of “gal”.

Puffed Rice Date Squares

Puffed Rice Date Squares, that happen to be vegan, gluten-free, dairy and sugar free, are made with just 5 ingredients:

  • puffed rice
  • dates
  • almond butter
  • maple syrup
  • dark chocolate chips

And you have a scrumptious, delicious, grab and go snack, perfect treat after my yoga class, or whenever you feel like a sweet craving is hitting but you want to keep calories under control. It is also a wonderful, caring, addition to any sweet tray you’re planning for the festivities, since it can be enjoyed by all the people with special dietary needs.

Puffed Rice Date SquaresPuffed Rice Date Squares

The making of these Puffed Rice Date Squares is pretty easy: soak the dates in hot boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain them, take the pit out and blend in a food processor with almond butter and maple syrup. Transfer the sticky smooth mixture in a bowl and add the puffed rice and with the help of a spatula or your hands incorporate it in the mixture. Line a small pan or tin (mine was 10 x 6 inches) with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly at the bottom (I used my hands), then place in the freezer while you melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie (double boiler). Once the chocolate is melted, take the pan out of the freezer and spread the chocolate on top smoothing the surface with a spatula, then place it back in the freezer until the chocolate hardens. You can now cut it into squares and dive into a Puffed Rice Date Square. So delicious!

You can customize the size of your squares according to your liking; using a smaller pan/tin will produce thicker squares with a thicker layer of chocolate on top. The bigger the pan the thinner the squares. I like mine, perfect size for me, with a balanced chewy/crunch and sweetness. For presentation I cut the squares leaving the irregular edges aside. They were the first I ate while taking pictures.

Puffed Rice Date Squares

The dates blended with almond butter and maple syrup give a lovely chewiness and natural sweetness, the puffed rice and dark chocolate melted on top that bit of “crunch”. The overall texture of the treat is so pleasing for your taste buds and just one square won’t be enough. But they’re small, and thin, and somewhat healthy, so surrender to your longing and enjoy!

Song of the day: “Living In The Moment”, by Jason Mraz.

Recipe adapted from The Little Green Spoon.

Puffed Rice Date Squares

Puffed Rice Date Squares [V., G.F., Dairy and Sugar Free]

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: about 16 squares 1x


Vegan, gluten-free, dairy and sugar free, these Puffed Rice Date Squares are a healthy and delicious snack.


  • 1 cup (25 g) rice puffs
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) dates
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) dark chocolate chips


  1. Pour boiling water over your dates and leave them to soak for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, add the drained, pitted dates, almond butter and maple syrup and blend until thick and creamy.
  3. Transfer the date mixture to a bowl, add the rice puffs and mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the mixture out in a small baking pan or tin lined with parchment paper.
  5. Place it in the freezer while you melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (double boiler).
  6. Once the chocolate is melted, take the pan/tin from the freezer and pour it out over the puffed rice/date mixture.
  7. Place it back in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened completely, then slice into little squares.
  8. Store in the fridge.
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  • Avatar
    Reply Tiffany December 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    I love the idea of these and I bet my toddler would love them. She’d also love to help make them. Super excited to try these. And I second the grounding effects of yoga. Do you ever do hot yoga?

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Hi Tiffany, thank you! These squares would be a fun treat to make with your daughter! They’re so easy and delicious! And no, in all these years I’ve never tried hot yoga!

  • Avatar
    Reply Dr. Kimberley | Healthy Life Redesign December 9, 2016 at 11:07 am

    OH MY! These look AMAZING! Pinning and sharing on facebook now. Can’t wait to try these tasty little treats!!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 9, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Thank you so much Kimberly! They are indeed delicious and so easy to make. Hope you try them!

  • Avatar
    Reply Stephanie@ApplesforCJ December 9, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I love the fact that these tasty looking little treats are so good for you..Can’t wait to try this Nicoletta! Pinning 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 9, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you Stephanie, they are so delicious! And good for you, what else can we ask? 😉

  • Avatar
    Reply Matt @ RoughEats December 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Mmmmm, these look like a winner to me. I’m not usually one for recipes that are GF, but I love how these look. Would be great on my families table for parties!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2016 at 8:44 am

      They are indeed amazing, Matt, so full of flavor and with a nice texture. Thank you for stopping by!

  • Avatar
    Reply Diane Galambos December 10, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I just made two things with chocolate today and here I am attracted to another fab looking chocolate recipe!! (Eataly coming to Toronto soon!! – though no guarantee they’ll have the same stock as Italy…)

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2016 at 8:46 am

      Lots of baking going on there, eh Diane? Thanks so much for loving my little treats! So excited for you, Eataly is my favorite place to shop in Rome, I talked to my mother and yesterday they went again and bought a lot of stuff. I miss that so much!

  • Avatar
    Reply Bethany @ athletic avocado December 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Wow, these squares look incredible! Love that there is no sugar added and they are made with wholesome ingredients 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Oh thanks Bethany! We love these cute little treats! Since I have quite a jar of puffed rice, I am going to make them again for sure 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Balvinder December 11, 2016 at 10:39 am

    These type of sweets I enjoy to the max.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 11, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Thank you Balvinder! I know! It is made with wholesome ingredients and sooo good 🙂 !

  • Avatar
    Reply Alexandra | Occasionally Eggs December 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Love your talk of yoga in this post! I’m a yoga instructor and it makes me so happy to see people combining yoga and food in their everyday lives 🙂 wonderful recipe, too, and perfect as a post-yoga snack!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 18, 2016 at 11:00 am

      Hey Alexandra, than you for your comment! I love yoga, it has a huge impact in my life. Great that you are a yoga instructor! These treats are so delicious, perfect little snack after a yoga (or any other activity) class!

  • Avatar
    Reply Carol Borchardt December 18, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Love! Love! Love! This looks so easy and dates are fast becoming one of my favorite things on planet earth. No baking makes them even better!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 18, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Oh thank you so much Carol! Yes, these squares are easy and so delicious! Dates are awesome and undefined appreciated.

  • Avatar
    Reply Veronika December 19, 2016 at 3:18 am

    these look absolutely amazing! I love that you sweetened these with dates 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 19, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Thank you Veronika! The dates are wonderful, they add sweetness and a lovely texture. The overall treat is a delight!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenna December 20, 2016 at 7:22 am

    I love your sentiments about surrendering. It’s amazing what yoga can do for your mindset, isn’t it? The date squares look like a perfect snack.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta December 20, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Yoga is amazing! And these puffed rice date squares are perfect after a yoga class 😉 !

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenny May 28, 2017 at 2:42 am

    These look great but with dates and honey or maple syrup in them they are not sugar free. Lots of sugars in both of those ingredients

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