Hello, from beautiful North Carolina! I’m on my first trip to visit my daughter in her new surroundings and couldn’t be happier for her. It’s truly gorgeous here and the people are friendly as can be!
I made these healthy peanut butter rice crispy treats to take along as a snack for my flight from California to North Carolina. I packed a couple bars, along with a small bag of the Almost-Eveything Trail Mix. It was a nice variation and just enough to hold me over until I arrived.
These peanut buttery & cacao chip snack treats are gluten-free, dairy-free, and made without marshmallows. They come together quickly, are fun to make, and can be enjoyed anytime of day. Store them covered for 4 days or so, or keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (but I bet they won’t last more than a couple of days!).
There’s only 4 simple ingredients to this easy snack recipe. We’ll be using rice crisp cereal, brown rice syrup, peanut butter and cacao nibs.
After playing around using different sweeteners and cereals with varying results, I finally came up with a great rice crispy treat.
- I started with Arrowhead Puffed Rice Cereal but the texture was too soft. Maybe my bag was stale, but they definitely lacked the crispy effect of ‘rice krispie treats’ that I was trying to replicate. Then I tried a box of One Degree Brown Rice Crisps Cereal and they were exactly what I was looking for in texture. A box of Rice Krispie Cereal, or one similar that your familiar with, will do fine too if you prefer.
- For the sweetener, pure maple syrup was delicious, but didn’t add enough stickiness, and they fell apart easily. It also seemed to soak into the cereal making them a tad too soft. None of this was necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t the end result I was looking for. I finally tested brown rice syrup with the best results, adding perfect stickiness and sweetness.
- Use creamy or chunky natural peanut butter. Sun butter would also be a great substitute!
- Cacao nibs add texture and a little chocolate flavor. Plus, they are loaded with antioxidants and are super good for you! They work well in this recipe since the don’t melt as quickly as regular chocolate chips.
For achieving that ‘crispy’ effect, I suggest sticking with the ingredients listed in the recipe for the best texture.
Start by gently warming the brown rice syrup and peanut butter over low heat. It only needs to be slightly warmed, just enough to loosen up the ingredients.
I tried making this without warming first, but the mixture was too stiff and once I added the cereal it was way too difficult to combine. Warming ever so slightly makes a big difference!
Once mixture is slightly warmed, turn off the heat, add the cereal and mix. Toss in the cacao nibs and mix once more.
Place mixture into a parchment paper lined (or lightly greased) pan, and press gently, but firmly, until mixture is packed and evenly distributed. I used a 9 x 9 here. A 9 x 11 or 8 x 8 would work great too.
Feel free to add a few more cacao nobs to fill in any blank spots, gently pressing them in.
Once packed, either slice and eat right away, or place the pan in the refrigerator and let the rice crispy mixture cool and harden. Both ways are delicious!
Now, it’s your turn to make a batch. I think you’ll love these crispy, peanut buttery, cacao nibby snack bars as much as I do!
PEANUT BUTTER + CACAO NIBS RICE CRISPY TREATS
A fun, healthy snack anytime of day that’s super easy to put together, and will ready to eat in minutes. Gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free and marshmallow free.
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 5 cups rice crispy cereal (I used One Degree)
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
Line a 9 x 9 square pan (or 9 x 13 rectangular dish) with parchment paper. Alternately, lightly grease with coconut oil or non-dairy butter. Set aside.
In a large pot or pan, over low heat, gently warm the brown rice syrup and peanut butter, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, stir in the rice crispy cereal, mix until almost combined. Add in the cacao nibs, and continue mixing until well combined.
Place the mixture in prepared pan/dish, and gently, but firmly, press until compacted and evenly distributed.
Either cut into squares and serve as is, or place pan/dish in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let harden.
Store leftovers covered on the counter for 4 days or so, or place in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Using a 9 x 9 dish will yield 9 bars.
If you can’t source One Degree Sprouted Brown Rice Cereal, feel free to use the original Rice Krispy Cereal for a true ‘crispy’ bar. There are a few other brands that have rice crispy cereal, I just haven’t tried them all but feel free to use any brand you know and like.
Use creamy or chunky peanut butter. Sun butter would be a great too.