Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NEW & IMPROVED Healthier Rice Crispies Bars: How to Make Them Bind Better & Still Rock Your World

Ok, so if you have made these bars from my original post, you might have had binding issues. I'm sorry. I am removing the previous post....Turns out Robin McGraw must apparently have some magic, because every time my mother in law and I make these rice crispy bars, we have trouble with them sticking together. But they taste so good that we keep making them!!! But we figured out how to fix the 'sticking together' issue.

I had to repost this recipe with the improved version because the bars are really JUST THAT GOOD and now they are perfect!!!!

So after some trial and error (thanks Carol!)--here's some tricks we've learned:
  • You will most likely need to add 2-3 Tbsp. butter if you are making them with regular rice cereal or brown rice cereal. I tried 'light' butter--and it works. Just add it in with the marshmallows and peanut butter (which we prefer to almond butter).
  • Due to density issues, we have discovered that if you use regular Rice Crispies cereal, you will need 1.5 packages of marmallows (that is 1 and 1/2 packages). If you use the brown rice crispies, you may need only another 1/4-1/2 a package. But let's get real here need the extra marshmallows for binding. We've tried every which way.
Here is the BEFORE picture without the butter and extra marshmallows-which left a pan of crumbs:

And HERE is the AFTER binding picture--nicely bound :)

See the difference????

Other things that have improved the bars' nutrition & taste for us have been:
  • 2 scoops of vanilla soy protein powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • Any combination of nuts or dried fruit (try the Sunsweet Berry Blend-so good!) is the revised recipe--the 'Sommerville' version that we make now-it's really awesome & it works:


Non-stick cooking spray or melted butter, as needed for pan
~15 oz. mini marshmallows (which ends up being about 1 1/2 (10 oz) packages)
3/4-1 cup nut butter, such as cashew, almond, peanut or hazelnut (peanut butter is our favorite)
2-3 Tbsp. butter or light butter (not included in original recipe, but will give you trouble without it)
1 10 to 12-ounce box brown rice cereal (not 'puffed' rice cereal)
1/2-1 cup dried cranberries, and/or blueberries, cherries or mixed berry blend
*1 1/2 cups nuts, chopped (pecans + cashews or almonds, walnuts, etc.)
2 scoops of vanilla soy protein powder
2-3 Tbsp. wheat germ

Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a medium baking sheet with the nonstick cooking spray or melted butter. You can either use a 9X13 inch pan for a thicker bar or a half-sheet baking pan for a thinner bar. (FYI-the thicker bars stay together better.)

In a microwave-safe bowl, zap the marshmallows, butter and nut butter, stirring after 1 minute, until melted, about 2 minutes--sometimes a little longer.

Working quickly, add the brown rice cereal, cranberries, pecans and cashews (and IF USING, the wheat germ and protein powder) to the melted marshmallow mixture and stir gently to combine – try not to crush up the bits of cereal too much--but it's ok if you do. The mixture hardens quickly.

Either wet your hands or spray them lightly with the nonstick cooking spray and turn the cereal marshmallow mixture out onto the greased baking sheet/pan. Press the mixture into the pan using your slick hands so that it's evenly distributed. Set the pan aside and let the bars set up, about 30 minutes.

Once set, cut them into squares and serve. You can serve them at room temperature or refrigerate them. They do well stored in waxed paper or parchment paper in tupperware.

Yields: About 12-14 bars--we get more like 18-22 depending on cut size.

*You can use any nuts--not necessarily those listed below. We often use almonds & pecans.

Thanks for your patience! Hope you love them! We are absolutely ADDICTED!

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