The genesis of this recipe began earlier this week, when one of those grocery store end caps was filled with shelves of a new, organic, sprouted puffed brown rice cereal, and boxes that normally cost $5 were available for $2.99. In that quick split second in which I turned my head from Tim to grab a box and look at the ingredients list (and it really did take a split second because the ingredients list is four—count them—four items long), I became the girl fantasizing about opening up the box as soon as I got home. I love cereal, but we hardly ever buy cereal, and not until I was sitting on the sofa with a big bowl in front of me did I remember how many times I ate rice cereals like this one with my grandma. She was a fairly non-discriminating breakfast eater, she’d use orange juice in the cereal bowl if she were out of milk, but when it came to the cereal she were going to buy, rice cereal was the only one I remember her having on hand. Eating a bowl (or two or five) this week has made me think about that and about her routines and habits and about how she’d keep games like Old Maid and Bunco and Go Fish in her buffet. It’s also reminded me of the wonder of rice cereal and how it never makes you feel full. But most importantly, at least in terms of this post, it’s inspired me to also mix up a gooey concoction of butter, honey, and peanut butter to coat the cereal with; scoop into balls; and chill in the fridge because, well, I don’t know another reason except, it tastes so good. Like candy. Rich and sweet and puffy candy.
We’ve made these little rice treat morsels three times this week, yes, three, and I wish I could tell you it was because we’ve been throwing so many parties, but actually it’s because we can’t stop eating them once they’re made.
Puffed Rice Treats with Peanut Butter & Honey
It's crazy how a simple combination of six fairly common ingredients can result in a little treat that is anything but---and these morsels are a testament to that. In our three, yes, three, versions of this recipe this week, we've played around with the butter proportions and finally decided we like 1.5 tablespoons best. Adding more still works to yield addictive morsels, but the fat tends to settle towards the bottom of the balls and create little pools around them, which harden in the fridge and look less pretty but still taste great.
On variations: For those of you wanting to make this recipe vegan and/or dairy-free, I see no reason why coconut oil couldn't be swapped for the butter; while I haven't tried this swap, I would guess the main differences would be flavor and, possibly, a different texture because of the way coconut oil tends to firm up faster than other fats. You could easily swap out the cranberries with raisins---or increase the amount, if you want more fruit chunks interspersed. And last night, a table filled with three men told me drizzled chocolate might be nice on top, although it would make the morsels richer, so be warned.
- 1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1/4 cup (72 g) creamy, salted peanut butter (we like the organic one from Trader Joe's)
- 1 1/4 cups (45 g) puffed rice cereal (like this one)
- 1/4 cup (30 g) dried, sweetened cranberries
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the salt, and, as it warms and softens, add the honey. Add the peanut butter, stirring the mixture as it continues softening. Once everything is fully melted, about 3 to 5 minutes, remove pan from heat, and stir in rice cereal and cranberries.
Scoop dollops of mixture into mini muffin cups and set cups on a plate or tray. Once all the mixture has been used, place plates/trays in refrigerator and chill until firm, about an hour. Enjoy!