From a young age I loved playing around in the kitchen, usually helping my mom stir the Duncan Hines brownie mix, lick the spoon, and end up with chocolate smears on my lips and chubby cheeks. But as a pretty independent six year old, I was no longer happy just being part of the baking – I wanted to do it on my own. Soon I declared to my mom with hands on hips and a little bit of sass, that I was taking over the kitchen to make the American classic, rice krispie treats. They’re about as easy as it gets — cereal, marshmallows, butter, and a little bit of elbow grease. An hour later, I cut the first bar with sticky hands, took a bite, and suddenly I felt like the gourmet chef of the world.
Now some twenty years later, I have to say my palate is a little more refined, which is exactly why these tasty treats were created. Happily, they’re not an ounce more difficult than the classic!
I first discovered cacao nibs after drooling over these muffins from Sarah at the gorgeous Vanilla Bean Blog. I fell in love with their crunchy texture and slight espresso flavor that went so well in these banana muffins. Cacao nibs are like nature’s chocolate chips, found inside the cacao bean of cacao pods. They are the purest, most raw form of chocolate! And you know what that means – chockfull of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, I picked up a jar of sunbutter to change up my normal routine of almond butter and I’m diggin’ it. And since it’s made from a seed, it’s a great alternative for those with nut allergies. It’s not quite as sweet as peanut butter, (which my more refined palate also likes) yet it’s still creamy and delicious. I hope you enjoy these grown up treats as much as I did!
6 c. brown rice cereal (I used brown Rice Krispies)
2 T. butter
1/3 c. + 1 T. sunbutter (or any other nut butter)
10 ounces marshmallows (doesn’t matter if they are big or small, just so that the weight is correct)
1/2 c. cacao nibs
Grease a 10 x 7 1/2 in. (or 13 x 9, your bars just won’t be as tall) with non stick spray. Pour rice cereal into a large bowl and set aside. In a medium size saucepan, melt butter over low/medium heat. Add in sunbutter and stir until melted and smooth. Dump in marshmallows and continue to stir as they slow melt. When completely melted and incorporated, pour over rice cereal and quickly stir, coating all of the cereal. Add in cacoa nibs and stir again to distribute throughout. Pour into pan and press down firmly with a piece of wax paper so it doesn’t stick to your hands. Easy as that!