After the first time I purchased Heavenly Hunks from Costco, I knew I wanted to recreate them at home. Annoyingly enough, a Google search for a copycat recipe came up empty. It is very unusual that this happens to me but did happen recently when I went to make Charlie Brown Bars.
Usually I dream up what sounds like an amazing recipe idea and, low and behold, dozens of people have thought of the recipe idea before me. I was sure I’d find someone who had beaten me to the punch on this genius thought. Instead, I was left with trying to figure out my own recipe from a list of ingredients: oats, dark chocolate mini chips, cane sugar, brown sugar, brown rice syrup, palm oil, unsweetened shredded coconut, sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour. All organic, gluten-free and vegan, of course.
I started searching for no-bake, vegan, gluten-free granola bars or energy balls. Most of the recipes contained peanut butter or almond butter, honey or maple syrup as a sweetener and none of them contained gluten-free flour or flours. It was actually kind of frustrating to tell you the truth. So I ended up patching together this recipe based on a conglomerate of recipes, including one for a gluten-free flour mixture made of tapioca flour, potato starch and sorghum flour.
I was extremely nervous when making these treats. It felt like the recipe I had concocted, though thoroughly researched, was a bit of a crap-shoot. I managed to find a recipe that used brown rice syrup as a binder but couldn’t find one that used brown rice syrup and sugar together. I wasn’t sure what would happen when adding flour into the mix. Would it end up to dry? I had no idea if I had enough of a wet mixture and when I started mixing everything together I was sure I did not. It turns out I was somehow spot on with my estimation of wet:dry ingredients.
And then when I was taste-testing the mixture as I was jamming it into ice cube trays, I was shocked to realize I had pretty much nailed the copy-cat recipe on the first try. Aside from the fact that I put my chocolate chips in when the mixture was still luke-warm, the chips melted a bit, and the mixture became messy to handle; my copy-cat tasted pretty much the same as the real deal.
Note: I first began writing this post on April 11, 2020 after a fair amount of research. At the time I was researching for this post, no other recipes existed. On April 24, 2020, Mary Ellen from Milk and Honey Nutrition posted a similar copy-cat recipe. On April 10, 2020, Stella and CO Bakes posted a similar copy-cat recipe. I was not aware any other recipe existed at the time of my post. Great minds think alike!
- 3 c. quick-cooking oats (organic, gluten free)
- 1 c. organic unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ c. organic tapioca flour
- 6 T. organic sorghum flour
- 6 T. organic potato starch
- ¼ to ½ tsp. organic sea salt (if you’re a salt person, do ½ tsp.)
- ⅔ c. organic brown rice syrup, such as Lundberg
- 2 T. organic brown sugar
- 2 T. organic cane sugar
- ½ c. organic vegan shortening, such as Nutiva
- ½ to ¾ c. mini dark chocolate chips (vegan), such as Pascha
- In a saucepan, combine brown rice syrup, sugars and shortening. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, flours, and salt. Stir to combine well.
- Pour brown syrup mixture over the oat mixture. Allow to cool considerably before adding in your chocolate chips otherwise the chocolate will melt, get messy and not look as pretty.
- Use three ice cube trays to make individual square servings. These are the ice cube trays I used. Drop 3 to 4 mini chips in the bottom of each ice cube mold and then press a bit of mixture into each individual ice cube mold. Add enough mixture so that when you press down very hard, the mixture is even with the top of the tray.
- Refrigerate about 1 hour before serving.
- Alternatively, you can press the mixture into an 9×11″ baking dish line with parchment paper if you don’t want to putz around with the individual molded super cute servings. Cover the mixture with wax paper and, using your hands, press down as hard as possible to flatten and compact the mixture into the pan.