It’s a belated post, so… Happy Belated 240th Birthday, America!
There’s a lot to be thankful for as an American, and while some of those freedoms might seem threatened in our current political environment, it’s still a miracle that I (a woman of Chinese-Indonesian decent) have been accepted into today’s society as a free and voting citizen of my country, with many rights and privileges that my counterparts in other countries do not. It’s something that I appreciate more and more with each year that passes. And it’s something that I’m reminded of at each backyard party or Central Park picnic that I attend in honor of the “Fourth of July.”
Speaking of which… what vegan* treat did I spring for this year? Limited by my restrictive diet, I wanted to find a suitable take of the rice crispy treat! While I was never really a fan of marshmallow, I couldn’t resist it in the from of a sweet, chewy and crunchy, homemade rice cereal treat. It’s been a lingering artifact since childhood, I can’t seem to stop in a coffeeshop and give the anything but lustful eyes when I see it in the pastry line-up.
I knew, then, that I HAD to make sure that I could create a vegan version. The internet search began and I’ve quickly discovered the mystical properties of rice syrup, which is the key behind this deliciously red-(white-)and-blue berry-filled rice crispy treat. The result was a sweet, chewy, and crunchy treat; just what I was going for! The dried berries were a perfect sweet-tart accent and proved an easy way to add another flavor dimension.
These were a hit at the picnic I brought them for, and I’ll definitely be making more for future summer events, playing around with different flavor profiles and mix-ins!
- 3-2/3 C rice cereal
- 1/3 C freeze dried berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
- 2/3 C brown rice syrup
- 3 Tbs coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanillla extract
- pinch of salt
- Prepare an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan by lining with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine rice cereal with freeze-dried berries to distribute as evenly as possible.
- In a small saucepan, heat rice syrup and coconut oil together on medium heat until boiling while constantly stirring with rubber spatula, keeping on heat for 1 more minute after mixture boils.
- Remove bubbling syrup from heat and stir in vanilla extract and salt.
- Carefully pour syrup mixture over cereal mix in the large bowl, use spatula to mix the rice crispy mixture, evenly coating the cereal with syrup.
- Pour rice crispy mixture into the prepared square pan and spread evenly, pressing and packing the cereal down with the spatula.
- Let rest about 60 minutes in fridge, or 20 minutes in freezer to set.
- To serve, bring to room temperature and slice into 16 squares (4x4) using a sharp knife. Enjoy!
- These rice crispy treats can easily be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.