Healthy rice krispie treats--build a better Easter basket for your kids with these naturally sweetened rice crispy treats made without marshmallows and naturally sweetened.
In case you're inclined to think these healthy rice krispie treats are any less delicious than regular rice crispy treats, I want to say that I actually prefer these to regular treats. It's the peanut butter, man. It's always the peanut butter, isn't it?
I've made these naturally sweetened rice crispies treats for years, but it wasn't until I realized how perfect they are for my daughter's Easter basket did I get the inspiration to share them with you.
They're not just for kids that you want to deny/limit sugar...they're also for adults who don't want to eat marshmallows, refined sugar, and the like.
The recipe comes from my kitchen idol, Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Cooking. (And for what it's worth, I think her approach to all-natural cooking is the stuff of super natural magic. There are a lot of 'healthy' chefs out there, but Heidi is doing something wildly different and always has been; I love her so deeply).
Heidi's crispy rice treats call for peanut butter, maple syrup, and agar agar (or gelatin). And while it's completely delicious that way, I've been making it with brown rice syrup for years. I used to live on the other side of the Lundberg Family rice fields in California, and so I've always had a soft spot for their products. I grabbed a jar of their brown rice syrup to use as a healthy sweetener years ago, and I can honestly say that my pantry has never been without it in nearly 8 years. I use it frequently as a sub for honey, in salad dressings and smoothies, but most of all: I use it to make healthy rice krispies treats.
Brown rice syrup is stickier than honey and maple syrup, and STICKY is a very good thing when you're making rice crispy treats without marshmallows.
So, these refined sugar free healthy rice krispie treats are made with: brown rice syrup, peanut butter, gelatin (or agar agar), and brown rice crisp cereal, of course. I linked to the brown rice syrup, because it always helps me to see what a product looks like before trying to find it in the store. It's going to be in the 'healthy foods' section of your grocery store, but when in doubt, Amazon will never let you down.
Next: peanut butter. It's a given to use an all-natural peanut butter without added sugar, right?
Let's talk about why there's gelatin in this recipe. Regular krispie treats have marshmallows, which contain gelatin. It binds things together, and makes them gooey and delicious. Since we're not using marshmallows today, powdered gelatin is a good sub, however you can totally leave it out. I use grass-fed gelatin (yes, I'm one of those moms), but regular works, too. And if you're vegan/ plant-based, agar agar is a great substitute.
Finally: the brown rice crisp cereal. Honestly, this is really hard for me to find at any store besides Whole Foods. Be sure the box says 'crisps' and not 'puffs,' as puffs are too soft and won't give you the same crispy effect. You can definitely use regular rice crispy cereal, too.
I'm packing these in Camille's Easter basket this year. Even though she'll be nearly 2 this year, I'm still not comfortable giving her candy. If you remember, last year, I packed her little plastic Easter eggs with dried fruit. (I know, I'm such a lame mom).
But because she discovered chocolate chips in the pantry one day while my back was turned (and literally asks for them every single day), I decided to drizzle the eggs with chocolate. Actually, now that I think about it, I've been giving Camille small pieces of dark chocolate since she was about 9 months old. Chocolate is an awesome source of magnesium, which helps with sleep, and when dealing with children, sleeeeeeeeep is gooooooood. Before you think I'm crazy, I'm talking about 70%+ dark chocolate, which has very little sugar. But the sprinkles. Those have so much sugar. Lame mom status: officially revoked! Hooray!
This is a small batch of rice krispies treats, but I smooshed them into a 8x8" pan, because I wanted the eggs to be thin so they would be easy for Camille to bite through.
These are fun to make into shapes for kids (especially egg shapes for Easter!), but in my house, they're normally cut into sloppy squares. The fact that I found an egg-shaped cookie cutter to make these for Easter is still blowing my mind. This is going to get me 'mom of the year' on Easter morning, right? If not, we're having bunny rabbit stew for Easter brunch. (kidding) (So not kidding).
But seriously, commit this recipe to memory and make it year 'round when you have a rice crispy treat craving. The way I see it, these are totally guilt-free :)
If you're stuffing these healthy rice krispie treats into your kid's Easter basket this year, her's another fun Easter basket idea --> my two-ingredient homemade fruit leathers!
Naturally Sweetened Rice Krispies Treats
Sugar free rice crispy treats made with peanut butter.
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 packet powdered gelatin (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 2 ½ cup brown rice crisp cereal
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Lightly spray a 8x8" baking pan with cooking spray (or rub with butter), and set aside.
- In a small 1-quart sauce pan, heat the peanut butter, brown rice syrup and salt until smooth and melted. It might even bubble a bit around the edges--it's fine, but don't let it boil too hard.
- Turn the heat off, and stir in the powdered gelatin.
- Next, add the rice cereal, and stir until evenly coated.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan, making sure it's flat and even.
- Let set for about an hour.
- Next, use an Easter egg cookie cutter to cut out 6 eggs (cut them horizontally, not at an angle like seen in the photo, or you'll only get 4 eggs!)
- If you're making the chocolate topping: melt the chocolate chip and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave at 50% power. Stir every 30 seconds until evenly melted.
- Drizzle each egg with the melted chocolate, and add the sprinkles on top.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 182Carbohydrates: 40gProtein: 3g
Sounds great...but what about Nutritional info...please.
Christina Lane says
Hi Judi, I don't currently offer nutritional info on my recipes, but there are online calculators you can use :)
What is the cereal you use from Whole Foods? All brown rice crisp cereals I can find on the Prime Now site, even if they say sweetened with rice syrup, have cane sugar in the ingredients.
Christina Lane says
Unfortunately, the Whole Foods cereal I use has cane sugar :( But at least it's brown rice, though? Just make sure your box says 'crisp' not puffs, because those aren't the same,
What if I used date syrup instead of brown rice syrup, you think it would yield the same result?
Christina Lane says
Sounds great! I think it would work :)
Hi, I just made these and I’m wondering how you store then? Airtight container or fridge?
Christina Lane says
Airtight container, not fridge.
Gwen Frita says
It's a bit frustrating you mention agar can be used instead of gelatin but you don't include instructions for how to use agar in the recipe. I'm still learning and was going to use your recipe but I fear swapping out the gelatin in equal amounts with agar and adding off heat will not dissolve the agar enough and ruin 1/2 a cup of peanut butter and syrup etc. as the end result. I assume one would want to add the agar in the beginning to cook in the peanut butter and syrup as most agar recipes say to simmer the agar in liquid for at least 5 minutes. But I'm unsure how much agar to use and if the fat from the peanut butter will affect the outcome perhaps in making it too soft/sticky. I will say its not helpful to assume something will work without trying it then instruct others looking for a tried and true method to use it. Otherwise your recipe looks awesome.
Christina Lane says
Stir the agar in at step 2.