Peanut butter Rice Krispie treats are sweet, nutty, gooey, crispy little delights! Top these with chocolate, or don't. Either way, the simple treat is a crowd-pleaser. And as simple to whip up as the original. Mix in chocolate chips, or top the squares with melted dark chocolate for an especially rich confection.
Substitutions and suggestions for accommodating vegan, paleo, and the GAPS diet are in the Notes section.
- cooking spray or butter, for the baking pan
- 4 ounces or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, salted or unsalted
- pinch of salt (about ¼ teaspoon)
- 10 ounces (1 standard package) marshmallows, mini recommended
- ½ cup of peanut butter, natural recommended
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups of crisped rice cereal, Rice Krispies or your favorite gluten-free brand
- 1 cup mini marshmallows, for mixing in, optional
- 1 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, for mixing in, optional
- 1 cup of semi-sweet or dark chocolate, for melting and topping the finished treats, optional
- Grease the baking pan(s), and if you have it, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. It makes removal of the finished treats easier.
- Measure out all of your ingredients. I like to grease the cup I use to measure the peanut butter with spray oil, as it releases more easily.
- In a very large pot over low heat, melt the butter and allow it to brown slightly (but not burn). You don't have to do this, but it adds a complementary nuttiness.
- Add the marshmallows and a pinch of salt to the pot and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.
- Add the peanut butter, and stir until it is incorporated and the gooey mixture is smooth.
- Off the heat, add the vanilla extract and stir to incorporate.
- Add the puffed rice cereal in several additions, mixing each time until the grains are coated in the marshmallow mixture. If you measured out extra marshmallows, mix them in along with the cereal. Likewise, if adding chocolate chips, mix them in as you add the last of the cereal.
- Scrape the mixture into your baking pan(s), and gently smooth and press the top flat. Cool completely, at room temperature. Fight the urge to cool the treats quicker in the refrigerator, as this will toughen the texture.
- To top with chocolate, melt chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a double boiler, or in the microwave. To melt in a microwave, heat the chocolate in thirty-second bursts, stirring between each one. If using a double boiler (heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water), keep the heat low and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Spread melted chocolate evenly across the top of the cooled treats in the pan.
- Once completely cooled, use a knife to cut the treats and lift them out of the pan. I like to run an offset spatula around the edges to loosen the sides. Then you can flip the entire block out onto a cutting board lined with parchment or wax paper. With a ruler or measuring tape, you can do quick math to create like-size squares or rectangles. Cutting into the treats from the bottom preserves the look of the tops, especially if you covered them in chocolate. You can also use cookie cutters to create shapes, which is a fun little project for kids.
Paleo or GAPS Diet. Grain-free cereals, when pulsed briefly in a food processor, can replace the puffed rice cereal. Then in place of marshmallows, whip up a double or triple batch of homemade marshmallow fluff using honey (I've actually done this). Mix in the vanilla extract, peanut butter, and cereal while the fluff is still warm and proceed as usual. If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the cereal by placing it in a plastic storage baggie and smacking it with a rolling pin or a pan. Truly, friends, if there's a will, there's a way.
Vegan. Swap in your favorite brands of vegan butter and mini marshmallows. For my dairy-free kiddo, I love the Earth Balance soy-free spread or sticks. But of course, any plant-based butter works. You can also replace the butter with coconut oil. It adds a little beneficial fat in the form of medium-chain triglycerides, to an otherwise nutrient-void party. And vegan marshmallows are not as hard to find as they used to be. My favorite brand is Dandies. And I also find marshmallows without animal gelatin at Trader Joe's.
Peanut Allergy. To replace the peanut butter, try cashew butter, sunflower seed butter, and almond butter. In that order. If the peanut-allergic partaker can eat cashews, they offer the next best, creamiest replacement. Sunflower seed butter can be a secret weapon in peanut nut-free baking since the texture is creamy and the flavor is unassuming. Almond butter works in a pinch, but will surely bring its own signature flavor and a grainier texture.
Store peanut butter Rice Krispie treats at room temperature in an air-tight container. Or freeze for a few months (yeah, right). If you chose to top your Rice Krispie treats with chocolate, take care not to stack them in the storage container without lining the top of each row with baking paper. Or the chocolate from one bar is likely to smudge up its upstairs neighbor.
The Nutrition Information below is based on the recipe as written, with all garnishes listed.
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