There are certain foods we turn to when we want to be reminded of childhood. Coming home after school for the snack you’d been waiting for all day, or secretly raiding the cookie jar after your parents had gone to sleep; everybody has something. I personally looked forward to sleeping over friends’ houses because I knew they had cabinets full of the wonderful (and highly processed) treats that my mom wouldn’t dare let in our house. While I now appreciate the fact that I grew up without consuming copious amounts of food additives on a daily basis, back then, all I could think of was how jealous I was of my friends with all the pre-packaged snack cakes they desired.
Rice Crispy Treats, in particular, were one of the treats I sought after, but the thought of them hadn’t crossed my mind in ages, and even less so after I became vegan. Justin, however, is another story. He has apparently been craving this classic snack, and for good reason. It’s sweet and sticky, but with a nice chew and satisfying crunch. The textures alone make them hard to resist.
Marshmallows, aside from the actual rice crisp cereal, are the main ingredient of the traditional version, and as much as I appreciate the existence of vegan marshmallows, they are relatively expensive, and I know that they’re not easily accessible for everyone. So, I did a bit of experimenting, and came up with a grown-up version of the childhood classic. This twist on rice crispy treats is every bit as satisfying, and, dare I say, even tastier than the original.
You’ll never miss the marshmallows in these crispy, crunchy, chewy (like the alliteration?) morsels. I promise. Brown rice syrup and sunflower seed butter provide an subtle sweetness to these bars that’s not nearly as cloying as their foil-wrapped counterpart. The cacao nibs provide an extra bit of crunch, and their slight bitterness contrasts well with the overall sweetness. As though there wasn’t enough lovely texture already, a smooth chocolate coating really elevates these bars, melting in your mouth from the first bite. How do chocolate covered (!) sunflower butter rice crispy bars sound to you?
- Rice Crispy Treats
- 1/2 cup unsalted, unsweetened sunflower seed butter
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups crisp rice cereal
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- Chocolate Coating
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Line a 9x7-inch or 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Pour crisp rice cereal and cacao nibs into a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sunflower seed butter, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, ground flaxseed, and salt. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until mixture begins to bubble. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour wet mixture over dry, and stir with a wooden spoon until completely coated. Press the mixture into prepared baking dish, and place in the freezer to set for at least 15 minutes.
- When the bars are set cut them into squares, and make the chocolate coating.
- Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler and heat until melted.
- Dip the bottom of each bar into the melted chocolate, or drizzle chocolate over top. Place bars on a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to set in the freezer for 10 minutes.
What were your favorite childhood treats? Do you have the same cravings now as you did years ago? I used to prefer salty snacks, but as I’ve gotten older, my sweet tooth has certainly grown. Effy, apparently, has a sweet tooth, too!