5 June 09 • SCB

We’re in our final week of school which in our community means a quick succession of gatherings, celebrations, potlucks and picnics. I am still without a full kitchen, but try to bring a homemade offering as much as possible (although the most popular parent is the one that shows up with a big watermelon and a knife, right?). These peanut-rice crispy treats are usually still a hit and so easy to throw together in a pinch. There’s no baking involved which is a blessing on a hot summer day. They have that crispy, sticky, sweet taste of old-school rice crispy treats, but without the marshmallows. They are obviously not for the peanut-allergic, but they are egg, dairy, refined sugar and gluten-free, and I never come home with any leftovers.

Peanut-Rice Crispy Treats

6 cups crispy or puffed brown rice cereal (I use Rice Twice by Erewhon)
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
2/3 cup natural peanut butter (or another nut butter like almond or cashew)
1 teaspoon vanilla
optional: sea salt, kosher salt or another flake salt

Line a 11 x 7 inch pan with parchment.

Heat the rice syrup, peanut butter and vanilla over low heat, stirring constantly, until blended and liquified (a few minutes). Immediately toss the rice cereal with the peanut butter mixture in a large bowl until very well coated. Pour the cereal into your prepared pan and press gently into all the corners. My family likes a little salty with our sweet, so we sprinkle the top with sea salt. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so (or, if you’re like me and you’re late for the picnic, in the freezer for 5 minutes). When cool and firm, lift out of the pan by the parchment and slice with a serrated knife (I do small squares for sharing and larger ones for school lunches). Store in an air-tight container.

You could easily up the nutritional punch of these by adding flax meal, chopped dried fruit, or chopped nuts in place of some of the cereal. We’ve also pressed in chocolate chips to the top before they cool which is really yummy, but messy in the summer heat.