Not Your Mama's Rice Crispie Treats

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Is there any one of us who hasn't enjoyed a sugary sweet, ooey gooey marshmallow-filled Rice Crispie Treat at one time or another? The ones I remember most fondly are the ones my mom would whip up as a special snack, often packed for picnics or an outing to the beach. Sometimes "plain." Sometimes drizzled with chocolate. (They were a horribly impractical choice for a day out in the hot sun, but that's an entirely different story!) I'm not gonna lie and pretend they weren't delicious, but what if I told you you could riff on the original in a way that would not only be delicious but would also contain better-for-you ingredients? 

That's exactly what I have for you today! My version is gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and free of high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. Instead, they are loaded with decadent flavor in the form of bittersweet chocolate, both melted into the almond butter mixture that becomes the "glue" to hold the treat together and in a totally over-the-top layer of ganache! I topped mine with toasted almonds, flakes of sea salt, and raw cacao nibs but you could also opt for goji berries, shredded coconut, or no garnish at all. 

Oooh, Mama! These are so good!

Makes 16 2" squares 

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 C maple syrup
  • 3/4 C almond butter (cashew butter is also good!)
  • 1/2 C bittersweet chocolate (70% or more cocoa bean content), chopped
  • 2 T organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 C crisp brown rice cereal

Ganache Topping:

  • 3 T organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 C bittersweet chocolate (70% or more)

Optional Toppings:

  • 1/4 C toasted almonds
  • 1/4 C raw cacao nibs
  • 1/4 C goji berries
  • 1/4 C shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt flakes

Instructions:

1. Line an 8"x8" square pan with two strips of parchment paper, cut long enough to extend over the top of all four sides of pan, providing "handles."

2. In a medium saucepan,  bring maple syrup to a rolling boil. After about one minute, remove from heat and add almond butter, chocolate, coconut oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and salt. Stir until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are well blended and smooth.

3. Fold in the rice cereal, mix well to combine, and scrape mixture into prepared pan. Spread firmly and evenly, making sure to fill the corners. (TIP: I find it works best if I place a square of parchment over the mixture and use the bottom of a glass to tamp down the mixture into a smooth layer.)

4. Combine coconut oil and chopped chocolate into clean saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour melted chocolate over the rice mixture and sprinkle whatever garnish you choose evenly over the top.

5. Refrigerate for about one hour. Lift the block of chocolate out of the pan by carefully grasping the parchment and cut into 16 2" squares.