“I will NOT be ignored!!” It’s there, in the back of my mind…taunting me…screaming. It’s my sweet tooth. When I get stressed, it goes into overdrive. I’m talking NASCAR drivers on the last turn headed for the checkered flag. It just won’t quit. We’ve had a lot going on lately, and the resulting stress has given my sweet tooth a workout. While I’m striving to avoid as many processed sweets as I can, there are times when I just can’t let it go. This week was one of those times. Out of desperation to calm my stress-induced sweet tooth, I came up with a gluten-free version of my biggest weakness. These Gluten Free Crispy Peanut Butter Bars are everything I hoped they would be….and more.
I’ve always been a big fan of Reese’s Sticks. There’s something about them that instantly silences that screaming sweet tooth I’ve got. But, they aren’t gluten-free, so they are out of the question for me now. I’ll admit that the similarity to the Reese’s Sticks was completely by accident, but oh, what a happy accident it was! I wanted to make peanut butter bars. You know the ones – they usually start with graham cracker crumbs, butter and peanut butter. Well, I decided that a gluten-friendly option was to replace those graham cracker crumbs with rice square cereal. We like the chocolate ones and the plain rice ones (ok, I like the plain rice ones – the kids aren’t big fans).
I set to work with the rice square cereal. A quick pulse or two in the food processor turned them into crumbs. When I looked at the crumb texture, it looked enough like graham cracker crumbs that I thought, “Dang! This might actually work!” Imagine my surprise when I bit into one the first time only to notice a light crunch amidst the peanut butter. It took me a few minutes to put my finger on it, but then I realized – it was just like the Reese’s Sticks!!! I did a happy dance. In the kitchen. In front of the fridge. Yup, I admit it.
Are you a stress eater? What’s the one craving you can never seem to be rid of? We wanna hear all about it!
- 1½ cups rice square cereal crumbs (we measured about 2:1 with mostly the chocolate ones)
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 1⅔ cups peanut butter
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line an 8x12 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
- Run the rice square cereal through the food processor to get a fine crumb.
- Combine the crumbs, powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter.
- Press the mixture into the baking pan until it is even.
- Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat on medium-high heat for 30-seconds at a time, stirring between.
- Once smooth and completely melted, spread on top of the peanut butter mixture.
- Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, then cut into squares.