Rice Crispy Bars


Rice Crispy Treats hold specific childhood sensory memories for me, and probably for a lot of adults as well. This sticky, sweet, crunchy, crispy, gooey, on-the-go, lick-your-fingers-afterwards, all at the same time experience is what childhood was all about. I got this recipe for a similar treat from my friend Marjorie awhile ago, and hadn’t had quite the right reason to make it till now. Brown rice syrup is much easier for your body to process than the cane sugar and additives that are in most baked goods. Since these rice crispies are stuck together and sweetened with the sweet syrup, they are a much healthier version than the traditional marshmallow dessert. However, these bars definitely don’t taste exactly like the marshmallow version; they aren’t as sickeningly sweet and they have the added tart flavors of dried fruit and the crunch of seeds, as well as the salty nutty taste of tahini. They are not kid-friendly in this sense, unless you have a particularly adventurous child.

This was lucky for me, as Marjorie used to make these and her kids wouldn’t want to eat them, so there were always some left for me to snack on! I would want to devour the whole container while I was at her house, but I’d hold myself back and enjoy these simple flavors and textures slowly. It’s very simple and nutritious – it’s one of those treats that is actually pretty healthy, although you do have to remember it’s a treat still, so you shouldn’t eat too much at a time…It was a perfect treat to take on a hike; it was a bit like an energy bar because it had all the necessary proteins and carbs to give us strength and energy to keep going, it was light and easy to pack and carry, and it satisfied all our sweet and salty cravings. And it was quite filling too!

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You can make it with whatever dried fruits you like best (I think that currants, apricots, raisins, or dried apples would taste delicious) and whatever seeds or chopped nuts you want to add would work too. While I just used crispy brown rice cereal as my base, you could throw in a combination of puffed rice, puffed millet, and puffed rice as well, as long as it equaled the same total amount. It’s a very adaptable recipe.


This recipe makes 2 dozen squares.

2 tsp. cold-pressed sesame oil
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tblsp. sesame tahini (or other nut butter of choice)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 cups plain unsweetened crispy brown rice cereal
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

In a large pot, heat oil, rice syrup, and tahini; stir until bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Add remaining ingredients, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
Spoon mixture into a 13×9 inch pan and press flat. Allow to sit at room temperature until set.
Then, cut into squares and store in an airtight container at room temperature.


8 Responses to “Rice Crispy Bars”

  1. 1 Sophie September 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    these look awesome. i have been looking for a tried and true cereal or granola type bar recipe. this is perfect! i love all dried fruits. tasty!

    p.s. i have been so lame about keeping up with everyone’s blog entries but i need an entire day to backtrack to all the amazing things you have been baking up!! love it all.

  2. 2 Rachel September 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    My mom used to make rice krispy treats with raisins and sunflower seeds in them, they’ve never tasted quite right to me any other way. I’ve craved them, but haven’t wanted to cook with marshmellows…I can’t wait to try these!

    Just for future reference, do you take baking challenges, or give recipe advice? I’ve got some challenging birthday requests coming up soon….

    • 3 Tessa September 19, 2009 at 11:02 pm

      Sophie–I hope you have time to make these! They were delicious. I hope they fulfill your need for a cereal/granola bar!

      Rachel–I definitely take baking challenge questions and give advice! Please send questions my way via the blog, email, or phone. I spend most of my free time (haha, free time, that’s a joke these days) thinking about baking and I’d love to help you out whenever you need/want! I have a better understanding of vegan recipes and how they work than with non-vegan baking, but Erin once called me in a panic about a meringue frosting she was in the middle of making in New York and I was able to talk her through it over the phone…It was cute. I’m interested in whatever baking projects you have!

  3. 4 jesseinbolivia September 20, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Wait. I’m concerned.
    By saying “for me, and probably for a lot of adults as well”, are you claiming adulthood all of a sudden? This does not sit well with me, and makes me deeply uncomfortable.
    You will FOREVER be somewhere in between ‘the Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Pickle’-loving 5 year old who got mad at me while acting it out (so I ate the pickle out of frustration), and the Hanson-loving 14 year old…

  4. 5 Sophie September 27, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Waw!! These gf fruit & puffed rice bars look sensational!! They look mighty tasty & ooh so prtetty too!

    MMMMMMMMMMMM,..Your GF recipes allways work for me!!

  5. 6 Lucy Lloyd January 24, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I made these today and they just fall apart when you pick them up! Followed the recipe, but do they in fact take a very long time to set? I left them about two hours at room temperature…

    • 7 Tessa January 26, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Lucy,

      I’m sorry your bars fell apart! I haven’t made these in quite some time, but I don’t think they fell apart when I made them. They are a bit sticky, and so you might want to use a spatula to scrape underneath the bars as you lift them up. That might help?

  1. 1 emily « What the heck do vegans eat? Trackback on July 7, 2010 at 7:11 am

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