UPDATE: My recipe was selected to feature in the IQS (I Quit Sugar) Chocolate Cookbook ebook! See end of post for more info..

As a kid, homemade chocolate crackles were my favourite party food. As a teenager, the Nestlé Crunch was my favourite chocolate bar.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover it’s actually really easy to make a much healthier version of these using (my current favourite ingredient) quinoa and a raw chocolate mixture.

“Popping” the quinoa doesn’t change the size or shape (like popped corn, or puffed rice in rice bubbles), instead it gives it an ultra crispy crunch and lightly toasted taste.

If you’re OK with grains, millet also ‘pops’ in the same way as quinoa. 

You can buy puffed quinoa from health food stores which is used as a breakfast cereal like rice bubbles or puffed wheat but it’s quite expensive (and more processed). Quinoa popped at home will not be as light and fluffy as the commercially puffed products – these are puffed by a commercial vacuum process.

Makes about 1 cup


  • 1/4 cup quinoa (any colour, I used white)
  • 90 grams virgin cacao butter
  • 30 grams virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • unrefined sweetener of your choice to taste (e.g. 3 Tbsp coconut sugar for low GI / 4 Tbsp rice malt syrup for fructose-free)
  • good pinch of fine grain sea salt


  • To puff the quinoa:
  1. Heat a deep saucepan to a medium-high heat (if you are cooking on gas make sure the flame doesn’t hit the bottom of the pan).
  2. Pour (uncooked) quinoa into the pan so it covers the bottom in a single layer.
  3. Move the pan in circles around the element to keep the quinoa moving to prevent it from catching/burning.
  4. You will start to hear and see it ‘pop’ – keep moving the pan around until the popping stops.
  5. Immediately tip the popped quinoa into a cold bowl to stop the ‘cooking’ process.
  • To make the chocolate:
  1. Put the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan over a low heat. (Low heat ensures the maximum nutrient retention. If you are using coconut sugar or some other granulated sugar you’ll need to turn the turn the heat up if you’d like the granules to dissolve.)
  2. Once the butter and oil have completely melted, add the cacao powder, salt and coconut sugar/rice malt syrup and keep it on the low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the dry, popped quinoa and stir well to combine.
  4. Pour into moulds (silicon are good as they just pop out once they’re set), or cover a plate (with slightly raised edges) with a sheet of baking paper then carefully pour the hot mixture on top and spread the quinoa out evenly to make a chocolate ‘bark’*.
  5. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to set then eat or store in either the fridge and freezer.

*If you’re using the ‘bark’  method, you could throw some chopped up nuts/seeds/fruit, or desiccated coconut if you wanted something a little ‘Golden Rough’y. In the photo below, I added 1/4 cup of toasted chopped almonds. Once it’s set, simply use the tip of a knife to roughly break it up into ‘chards’.

**Recipe featured in IQS Chocolate **

Due to the power of the internet, shortly after I posted this on instagram, Sarah Wilson (of I Quit Sugar fame) approached me to submit some recipes for her to consider for a new IQS Chocolate Cookbook ebook (74 sugar-free chocolate recipes!). I’m now officially a contributor to something outside of my humble little recipe blog 🙂