On a recent weekend, we had friends over for a last minute playdate. The playdate went so well, and we adults were having so much fun catching up, that we invited them to stay for dinner. Luckily, I'd happened to make these Crispy Rice Squares earlier in the day and they turned out to be a perfect way to end the night.
These are like Rice Krispie Treats, but with a less overtly sweet flavor and some protein in the mix. Which means that they taste great, have the texture that you expect, but they are a more balanced snack or dessert (to reduce the chances of a sugar-crash-induced tantrum!). They are super simple to mix up and are just sticky enough for the kids to think they are a real treat.
You'll want to be sure to use crispy rice cereal, not puffed rice cereal, to ensure that these have the right texture. (I bet you could also make these with Puffed Flax cereal if you can find it.) I use brown rice syrup here because it kind of has the texture of glue in that it helps the bars hold together without the need for marshmallows. It also is sweet, but not as sweet as honey or sugar, and is low on the glycemic index, so it's a nice option for little ones. I've found it at the best price on Thrive Market, though Whole Foods has a good price too. (It's really pricy on Amazon so I wouldn't recommend getting it there.) I don't know that this recipe would work with honey, so I can't recommend a substitute. You'll get two batches out of a jar though, so it's definitely worth it!
(I can't guarantee that you won't stress eat these delicious squares if you have them at an election party tonight, but hey, at least they're made with healthy ingredients!)
Nut-Free Crispy Rice Squares
These squares stay firm, but still soft enough to bite easily, when stored at room temperature. You can also serve them slightly chilled if you store them in the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. You can also use Sunbutter if needed for a nut-safe version.
4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup smooth, unsweetened peanut butter at room temperature or warmed slightly
1 cup brown rice syrup
1. Coat an 8x8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Remove excess with a paper towel. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula. Pour into prepared pan and press down evenly. Cut into squares and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before serving. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.