Chocolate Crunchies: The Perfect Mid-Winter Treat

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but: I think I like February. I mean, sure, here we are, with 49 out of the 50 states having snow somewhere.

A close up image of a hand holding a piece of chocolate crunchies.

And sure, being outside too long still makes my nose run and my ears burn, like it did this weekend, when on Sunday afternoon, every! train! seemed to take five extra freezing-cold minutes to arrive, but listen: it’s not all bad.

To start, LOST is back. If February brought us LOST, February is good. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that.

Then there’s the light. I realized last week that the days have hit that point where the sky is still light when I walk to my car at 5:30 PM every night.

An image of a mixing bowl with a mixture of chocolate crunchies.

How fantastic is that? No, really.

Dwell on this with me: (almost) DAYLIGHT when I begin driving home, the kind that gradually diminishes and colors the sky and only becomes darkness as I’m parking my car again. This means not needing to turn my desk lamp on at work at all if I don’t want to.

It means being able to see my hands in front of my face when I scrape snow off my car. The first day it was like this, I am not ashamed to tell you, I almost cried, that’s how happy I was.

People. It only gets better from here! The days will keep getting longer! And then warmer! We are close! We are close!

An image showing a baking pan lined with chocolate crunchies mixture ready for baking.

And of course also, it was just Valentine’s Day this last weekend, and while I know every blogger has already said something about how much he or she does or doesn’t love this day all about love, I’ll just throw my two cents in: it’s hard to hate a day filled with chocolate. I mean, right?

So these were my Valentine’s snack. We’ll call them chocolate crunchies.

They’re so fast and easy to make: melt chocolate, add other ingredients, form into little balls, sprinkle with salt and refrigerate. That’s it.

Getting them onto the cookie sheets was a little bit messy, but seriously, so much easier than making truffles and really, just as good in the end.

A number of chocolate crunchies mixture on a silpat mat.

These babies are sweet and salty, crunchy and soft, small enough for about two or three bites each and, if the way they disappeared at my friend’s house Saturday night was any indication, absolutely delicious.

I didn’t really expect them to be as popular as they were, kind of the way I didn’t expect to be liking February, right in the middle of a pending snowstorm, but what can I say? When something’s good, it’s good.

An image of jars filled with chocolate crunchies,

So make these. Celebrate. Winter may still be here, but not for long — or even if it is, at least you’ll have these to eat.

Chocolate Crunchies

12 ounces (give or take/I def used way less) dark chocolate chips (or milk if you prefer)
1 1/3 cup puffed millet, rice, kamut (I used rice)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces (or pecans)
Sea salt

Slowly melt chocolate in a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, not allowing the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray or use a Silpat mat.

Remove the chocolate from the heat and gently add in the puffed grain, dried fruit and nuts, and fold everything to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes to cool.

Using a spoon and your fingers, dollop hefty tablespoons of the chocolate mix onto the baking sheet. Repeat, washing your fingers every now and then because it will be easier to work with the chocolate.

This step gets messy, but as they cool you can form their shape better. Sprinkle them liberally with sea salt.

Put the tray in the fridge for about 15 minutes for the morsels to set completely.

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home,, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

28 thoughts on “Chocolate Crunchies: The Perfect Mid-Winter Treat”

  1. I’ve told many people about winter in Chicago (because they think I’m crazy moving from TX). I can deal with the cold and the snow and the slush but its the darkness that gets me every time. Feb can be below zero everyday, but since the sun is still up past 5, I can deal.

  2. i just wrote about liking february too. i think it’s all the light and sunshine we’ve been getting. this recipe sounds so fun and easy…think i’ll wait till warmer temps for refrigerator cookies though.

  3. I love this post – you’re right, Spring is right around the corner! Hard to keep that in perspective at times when there’s been a foot of snow in they city for over a week (I’m in Philadelphia). Yet chocolate does make the season (any season come to think of it!) more tolerable. I like the use of dried cranberries; seems that this recipe is ideal for other variations/combinations of dried fruits and nuts.

  4. makes me so happy to see these pictures! I know, there are a big mess, but such a nice little sweet morsel you get at the end of that mess 😉

  5. I can’t wait to try these! I know what you mean about February! It is a great month, especially because it stays light out a little longer now! Yay!

  6. Wow, these are like an elegant and grown-up version of a thing we used to have at *every* Kiwi kid’s birthday party – rice crispies. ‘Cept they had shortening in ’em…

  7. thanks for this, shanna. after a not-so-hot welcome back to the midwest (snow + towed car, ’nuff said), it’s nice to be reminded that life’s not so bad, that the days are getting longer, and that things like chocolate crunchies exist simply to make us happy.

  8. aahhhhh, i love the breathing space your blog allows. and these sound so perfect! please will you write a book so i can take you to a cafe or read you on my commute? 🙂

  9. These look so good!! And I can be a bit smug about the weather since here in Vancouver it’s sunny and warm and flowers and blossoms are blooming. February? What February?

  10. i know exactly what you mean about the sin staying awake a little bit longer each day. i too, love the fact that the sun is still up when i leave work. spring is around the corner!

    thanks for sharing the recipe. they look yummy!

  11. Gemma, Oh I say they’re definitely good for you. (a) dark chocolate has antioxidants (b) walnuts are loaded with omega-3s. Plus, no added sugar! Make them free of guilt and enjoy!

    Whitney, Exactly. and PS you amaze me with all your running in the cold!

    Julia, Well, here’s hoping the warmer temps come soon!

    Lisa, Yes! That was one of the things Sara pointed out in her original post, that this is a very versatile recipe. I’d love to hear what variations you come up with!

    Sara, Totally worth the little bit of mess. Thanks for posting these!

    Antonietta, Yes! Oh and also – it’s shorter! So it moves us into March just like that. So exciting.

    Sarah, I hope you love it!

    Anne, Thank you!

    Sasa, Oh SO much better than rice krispy treats. Soooo much better!

    Jacqui, I know exactly what you mean; that’s how I always feel when I come back into town. So sorry about your car getting towed (!) but hopefully all good things ahead, friend.

    Emily, Oh you are such a sweetheart.

    Tim, Whaat? Sounds like someone needs to see his glass half full….

    Kim, Ha! Yes, yes and yes!

    Kickpleat, That made me chuckle. Go ahead and be smug – I sure would be if I were there! Sounds perfect!

    Lauren, Right? Finally!

    Sue, I forgot you like LOST! No wonder we’re friends.

    Jessica, Do it!

    Hannah, I know and I know. Every episode, I just sit there, looking at the screen, with no words. Completely confused and I love it.

  12. Oh and Allison! (we were commenting at the same time, it seems) – thank you for the comment and for the shared optimism. Spring IS around the corner!

  13. Why hello, early spring! I agree: what the heck is going on here? Although no complaints. And I don’t watch Lost but I hear it’s been insane…I’m thinking it’s too late for me to catch up now. These look great. I’ve managed to snack on all of the chocolate around the house and am scared to bring any more in (I’m weak late at night), but these look great. Love the idea of sort of creating your own little jumbles with what you have on hand. Thanks, Shannalee!

  14. Honestly, you could have just said “chocolate” and “crunchy” and you would have had me right there. But, you didn’t — you mentioned “salty”… and now I’m completely hooked on the idea. Will be putting these in my “to make” file.

    And, while we’re at it, I’m with you on the month of February. Not nearly as bad as the rap it tends to get. And definitely better than January 🙂

  15. Megan, It is never too late for LOST. All the episodes are online. You will have the rare joy of instant gratification from one season to the next!

    Tammy, Thanks so much!

    Redmenace, Haha – word indeed.

    Lo, I totally agree about salty and sweet together – gets me every time. And thanks for pointing out another great thing about February: it’s not January!

  16. February has been a surprise for me, too. It hasn’t been bad. And the fact that it’s been light outside when I leave my office is blowing my mind. I’m loving the longer days and the thought of being able to walk my dog after work in the near future.

    Also? This recipe looks DIVINE. Thanks for sharing it!


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