11.01.2015

Mocha Mississippi Mud Crunch Bars {dairy + gluten free}

Do you ever randomly think about foods from your childhood that you didn't really think you liked, but suddenly you have to try them again? I hadn't had that experience until about the last trimester of my pregnancy. For some reason, out of the blue, I would have a memory of a particular recipe that my mom would make and decided I had to make it.

One such food item was brownies. I remember my brother being a fan of brownies, but I didn't care for them as much. I do remember a specific recipe for caramel brownies that Mom made using a German chocolate cake mix and individual caramels. That was probably the one I actually enjoyed the most. Because I haven't come up with a way to remake those gooey caramel squares sans dairy, I didn't make the effort to try them.

#glutenfree #dairyfree #chocolate #brownies

The next recipe that came to mind was Mississippi Mud. A rich chocolate brownie base, with a layer of sticky marshmallow and topped with chocolate frosting. That is one such recipe that I remember thinking was okay, but not really my favorite. Just this past week, when I found out it was National Chocolate Day, I was reminded again of my mom's recipe and decided now was the perfect time to remake it.

My version has a twist with its mocha flavored frosting mixed with crunchy rice cereal. It is definitely a rich dessert and fit the bill in all its chocolatey glory. I would have to say that I did enjoy it more now that I recall from my childhood, but it will absolutely have to be a "special occasion" treat!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #chocolate #brownies

Mocha Mississippi Mud Crunch Bars {dairy + gluten free}

Makes 12-16 squares

1 recipe for dairy- and gluten-free brownies (I used a box mix from Aldi's LiveGfree brand)
1 container prepared marshmallow fluff or 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cold, strong brewed coffee (depending on desired consistency; you could also use dairy-free milk)
1 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup gluten free crisp rice cereal (I like Erewhon Foods Crispy Brown Rice cereal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray paper with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Prepare brownie mix according to recipe or package instructions. Pour into baking dish and bake according to instructions. Remove from oven and allow brownies to cool. 

Once brownies are nearly cool, top with marshmallow fluff or mini marshmallows. If using mini marshmallows, return dish to warm oven until melted. 

While brownies and marshmallow layer are cooling completely, whisk together cold coffee (or dairy-free milk) and instant coffee powder until completely dissolved.

Combine all frosting ingredients except rice cereal in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together on medium speed completely light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).

Just before serving, fold the rice cereal into the frosting until combined and spread evenly over the marshmallow layer. Cut into squares and serve!

#glutenfree #dairyfree #chocolate #brownies

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