What is it about "back-to-school" that brings to mind peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrot sticks and Rice Krispy treats? When I was visiting Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, I spied some peanut butter crispy treats dipped in chocolate at the checkout. Talk about an impulse buy. But I think I deserve some credit for making it all the way home with that treat to share with my husband. Ever since, I've been craving them like mad.
After a little experimentation, here's my version. You could really make these any way you want. I tried regular marshmallows, minis, vegan marshmallows (no gelatin), even marshmallow fluff, regular Rice Krispy cereal, organic brown crisped rice cereal... you get the picture. I liked the mini marshmallows with crisped brown rice cereal best. The minis melt faster and the brown rice cereal seemed a little more substantial. You can also make these without marshmallows subbing a caramelly base instead. But for me, it was all about that elastic quality that the marshmallows give.
You could do this with any nut butter. I really like it with the almond butter, but cashew or peanut butter would give it a stronger flavor. I also tried these with more nut butter proportionally, but they came out a little too pasty.
The chocolate dip gives them a little contrast. You get one end with chocolate and one without so you can experience the spectrum of flavors. Toasted almonds add a little crunch. You could spinkle them into the mix with the bar, if you like, but I think they might get pretty smashed up by the mixing.
While I won't pretend that these are in any way healthy, they do make a fun indulgence every once in awhile. They'd be great for a Halloween party too.
Almond Butter Crispy Treats
4 tablespoons butter
16 ounces mini marshmallows
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces crisped rice cereal
1 cup 60-70% bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Prep a 13x9x2 casserole/baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Spray a large saucepan with cooking spray. Melt butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the marshmallows and stir while those melt. You can let them sit a few seconds between stirring, but don't leave them for long. The bottom will brown and the tops will sit undisturbed.
When marshmallows are completely melted, add the almond butter and stir well until melted and completely incorporated. Remove from heat.
Add the salt and vanilla and stir well to combine. Add the crisped rice cereal and stir like mad to get the cereal evenly coated while it's still hot.
Immediately pour into prepared pan. Press into the pan with a spatula. Set aside to cool.
These are really better when you've let them cool completely and have at least an hour or so to set up. They're easier to slice that way too. But I won't blame you for carving out a little corner bit to taste.
While they're cooling, break up your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and zap in 30-second increments at 50% power until melted. When your treats are completely cooled and set up, slice or cut them with cookie cutters (use cooking spray!!). Dip them into the melted chocolate and set on a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds. Let cool for the chocolate to firm up.