No-Bake Chocolate, Coconut and Cranberry Squares - Low FODMAP, Gluten Free & Vegan

If you are after a quick and easy sweet to make for school lunches, a morning tea pot luck, or even for Christmas gifts (the combination of chocolate and dried cranberries just scream, "Christmas!" to me), then look no further! They are perfect for a summertime treat, as you don't need to turn on the oven - this isn't a problem in Seattle but during an Australian summer, you do your baking/cooking the night before, or not at all.

These delicious little beauties can be made and in the fridge in ten minutes flat, and then ready to serve after 30 minutes (thought a full hour is ideal). They also travel well - just don't let them sit out in the sun for too long, or they will soften. 

I used the lightly salted "original flavour" popcorn from the brand SkinnyPop, which is low FODMAP by ingredient and certified gluten free. Alternatively, you could also opt for a sweeter option and use their "naturally sweet" variety, which is also LFM by ingredient and GF. 

I actually only added the dried cranberries in to one half of the mixture (to clarify - the amount called for below is meant for the whole mixture, I halved it and added it to only one bowl) and left the other half plain chocolate for Ev - the result was basically chocolate crackles for adults, which was pretty awesome. 

Friendly Notes

  1. Plain popcorn is low FODMAP in 120 g serves, and is naturally gluten free. If you have a gluten allergy/coeliac disease, make sure that the popcorn you buy is certified GF. I used SkinnyPop brand.
  2. Rice malt/brown rice syrup is LFM in 1 tbsp (28 g) serves. The 1 cup called for in this recipe gives 12 Aussie tablespoons, so is safe once divided up into 24 serves. In terms of gluten, some brands are gluten free, others not - this is due to differing production methods. If you have to avoid gluten (in addition to fructans), please check the product you buy to make sure it is gluten free. Read more here. I like to use Lundberg Brown Rice Syrup, which is also gluten free. 
  3. According to Monash University, dark chocolate is LFM in 30 g serves, milk chocolate in 15 g serves. The 180 g called for in this recipe could be either milk or dark, depending on preference, as it is present in safe amounts once divided into 24 serves. As this is a vegan recipe, I used Enjoy Life brand mini chips, which are dairy free.
  4. Desiccated coconut is LFM in 1/4 cup (18 g) serves. The 90 g called for in this recipe, once split into 24 serves, is FODMAP friendly. Be careful not to over-eat this, as desiccated coconut becomes higher in sorbitol above the safe serve.
  5. Dried cranberries are FODMAP friendly in 13 g serves. The 120 g called for in this recipe, once split into 24 portions, becomes safe. Don't forget to check ingredients to make sure there are no hidden FODMAPs. 
  6. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP, however, be sure to check ingredients as some can contain inulin, which is a form of FOS (a FODMAP). 
  7. Brand recommendations were low FODMAP by ingredient and certified gluten free at the time of publication, please remember to check ingredients/certification yourself. 

No-Bake Chocolate, Coconut & Cranberry Squares 

Serves: 24 | Time: 10 minutes active, 30-60 minutes refrigeration 

Dietary Restrictions

Low FODMAP - Fructose Friendly - Gluten Free - Wheat Free - Dairy Free - Egg Free - Soy Free - Vegan

Ingredients

  • 125 g (7 cups) lightly salted popcorn (one bag SKINNY POP original)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) rice malt/brown rice syrup
  • 180 g (1 cup) dairy free mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 120 g (1 cup, packed) dried cranberries 
  • 90 g (1 1/4 cup) desiccated coconut - 45 g for the mixture, 45 g for the topping 
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 

Method

Pour the rice malt syrup and vanilla extract into a microwave safe container and heat until the syrup becomes very runny - this should take around 90 seconds. 

Meanwhile, withhold half of the desiccated coconut, then divide the all the ingredients evenly between two large bowls - or pour all of it into one extra large bowl, if you have one. I didn't, whoops! 

Once the rice malt syrup has become runny enough to coat the popcorn easily, pour it on top of everything (remembering to split it between the two bowls, if you had to use this method) and mix it through thoroughly. The heat from the syrup will melt the chocolate chips, allowing the chocolate to evenly coat the popcorn, too. 

Once everything has combined properly, set the bowl(s) aside and line two 9x13" baking dishes with parchment paper. Pour half of the mixture onto each tray (if you had to use two bowls, the mixture is perfectly divided already!) and press it evenly into the corners. Don't worry if the popcorn gets a little crushed. Sprinkle over the remaining desiccated coconut and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, 60 is best, before slicing into squares. I sliced each tray into 24 squares, so two squares was a serve. 

Keep them in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to one week. Enjoy!