The first time I enjoyed a rice crispy treat was at my girlfriend Jenna’s house. We’d just finished chowing down on a pot of KD; the staple in any 8 year old’s diet, when she offered to make us a dessert.
The marshmallow mixture never made it to the pan. Instead, Jenna and I sat cross legged on the grass outside with the bowl between us, taking turns wrapping the mixture around our individual forks.
From that point forward, my specialty dessert was the rice crispy treat. They were quick, simple, and with my sister’s infatuation with marshmallows, we always seemed to have the ingredients in the house. Plus, Mom let me make them when she wasn’t home, too.
If I was feeling really creative, I’d add things like cinnamon toast crunch cereal (because I put that stuff in just about everything), chocolate chips, colored mini marshmallows, rolled oats, raisins, coconut, bananas, or cocoa powder, getting my sister to help me taste test the various combinations as I went.
Last week, my sales team at work asked if I’d bring them vegan rice crispy squares and, as usual, I jumped at the challenge. Originally, I’d planned to create vegan marshmallows but after various failed attempts, I decided on a simpler approach. 5 ingredients, prep time of under 15 minutes.
And hey, who wants to make marshmallows from scratch anyways? Laaaame :P
These squares turned out just as I remember them but with less sugar, far less processed ingredients, and a bit of extra fiber to boot!
- Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with whatever oil you have on hand. Coconut oil, safflower, sunflower, or vegan butter spread, would work well. Set aside.
- Place brown rice cereal and ground flax seed in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- In a medium-sized sauce pan or frying pan, add rice syrup, sunflower seed butter and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until ingredients have liquified, about 5 minutes.
- Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
- Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula, pressing down firmly.
- Allow to sit for 1 hour in the refrigerator before cutting into squares.
I placed all of the ingredients for this recipe in my new 9×13 pan for safe keeping while I cleaned the kitchen Monday morning. Looking at the picture of all of the ingredients stuffed in the pan like this makes me think I could gift something similar to this with a recipe card enclosed, new pan and all!
Start off by combining the rice crisps and flax in one bowl and the remaining ingredients in another.
You’ll want to heat the seed butter mixture until it’s runny, about 5 minutes. Be sure to continue to stir so that the mixture doesn’t burn. The longer you cook it, the closer to taffy it will become which can be quite a pain to mix in with the rice crisps.
Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
Be sure not to crush the crisps by pressing the mixture together with the spoon, but rather rotating the mix up and over itself.
This will take several minutes and probably result in rice crisps jumping out of the bowl. It is customary to gobble them up as you go, part of the process if you will.
Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula. Be sure to press the mix firmly!
Once the treats have set, pull out your handy, dandy measuring tape…
You don’t actually have to mark the pan with pencil as I did. I swear I only do crazy things like this when I know I’m taking a picture of my food. Otherwise, you can just about guarantee that the sizes of the squares I cut will vary by at least 45%.
What’s one childhood dessert you’ve always wanted to make healthier?