I have such fond memories of making Rice Krispies Treats when I was little. Babysitters would come over with a box of cereal, some marshmallows, and a stick of butter and we would get down and dirty over the stove. My hands would get so sticky, but that was fine with me–all the more to eat!
After I’d had my fill, we would wrap the rest of them up with careful bows and write little notes to Mom and Dad and Sissy to enjoy later. It was a beautiful ritual and gave me such joy to give them as simple gifts from the heart.
Although I’m now older and wiser about what I put into my body, I still enjoy making sticky treats to give to friends and family as an edible surprise or token of thanks.
These Crispy Trail Bars fit the bill of Krispies Treats of old, but this time around they’re much healthier (vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free!). I use a mixture of crispy brown rice and crispy quinoa cereal, both of which I found in the bulk section of my Whole Foods (I’ve included the brands in the recipe below).
I used brown rice syrup and almond butter in place of the marshmallows and butter. Brown rice syrup is wonderful here because it lends the stickiness of the marshmallows without being overly sweet, plus it’s made from complex carbs, so it won’t give you the sugar crash that would follow the traditional Krispies treats. I also threw in some sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, and dried apricots for good measure.
If you don’t like one of the ingredients, feel free to swap it out with something you do like: dried cranberries for the apricots; peanut butter for almond butter (or tahini if you have a nut allergy); go crazy and add chunks of chocolate–whatever your heart desires! These are easy to throw together and perfect for an energy-boosting snack or an adorable gift with a bow. If nothing else, revert back to a younger you and enjoy them straight from the mixing bowl!
Crispy Trail Bars
Makes 12-14 bars
– 1 c. brown rice crispy cereal (try Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal)
– 1 c. quinoa crispy cereal (try Edison Grainery Organic Quinoa Crispies)
– 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
– 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
– 1/2 c. dried unsulphured apricots, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 1 1/2 c. brown rice syrup (try Lundberg)
– A pinch of sea salt
– 3/4 c. unsalted almond butter
1. In a large bowl, combine the brown rice crispy cereal, quinoa crispy cereal, sunflower seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, and dried apricot pieces. Mix with a spoon.
2. Heat the brown rice syrup in a saucepan over medium heat until it liquefies.
3. Add the sea salt and the almond butter. Remove from the heat and stir until the syrup and almond butter are completely incorporated.
4. Pour this over your cereal mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon until combined.
5. Turn the sticky mixture out into an 9” by 13” glass casserole dish and press down firmly and evenly.
6. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting into bars. To store: individually wrap the bars with plastic wrap or wax paper, or all together in an air-tight container. Enjoy!
– Arielle (DIY Food Contributor)
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