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No-Marshmallow Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

My husband and son really love Rice Krispie treats and say they're healthy because they have cereal in them. Nope. Sorry. Not so much. The cereal isn't too bad, although it's mostly air, but the marshmallows and butter in Rice Krispie treats underscore the treat part of the name. Quite a few nutritionists have improved on the original recipe with substitutions, including using brown rice cereal rather than the original Rice Krispies. The brown rice cereal is great if you can find it. The Whole Paycheck place has it for about double the price of regular Rice Krispies, but the brown rice cereal isn't that much more nutritious than the regular stuff. So I use the brown crispy rice cereal sometimes, but I don't obsess over finding it. Use the regular crispy rice cereal or some other crispy, crunchy cereal that isn't too horrendously bad for you (cheerios-type cereal comes to mind here) if you'd prefer. In lieu of the marshmallows and butter, many nutritionists substitute honey or maple syrup and peanut or almond butter. The honey and maple syrup have plenty of sugar in them, albeit a different type. Peanut butter and almond butter also have a substantial amount of fat. The good news is that the fat in the nut butters is better for you than the type found in dairy butter. The nut butters also contribute protein to the rice crispy treats. In my "make over" rice crispy treats, I prefer to use honey and peanut butter, which seem to go well with the chocolate chips that get added to the mix. The chips melt into the hot cereal mixture, so, if you want intact chips, save some out and add them later after the cereal mixture has cooled a bit. The finished Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats are addictive, even without the butter and marshmallows, so beware. They really are "treats," even if better nutritionally than the originals.

No-Marshmallow Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

No-Marshmallow Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats -- Makes 12-16

1/4 cup of honey

2/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter

3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels

3 cups of crispy brown rice cereal (or regular crispy rice cereal, cheerios, chex, etc.)

1/2 cup of chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Coat a 9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter and heat them in the microwave until they are hot--about a minute. Stir them well to combine them. Stir in the cereal and then 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Stir everything together until the cereal is coated and the chocolate melts into the mixture. You can add the remaining chocolate chips (and chopped peanuts if you like) and then press the cereal mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Alternatively, press the cereal mixture into the pan and then sprinkle the top with the additional chips, pressing them into the top of the cereal mixture. Let the mixture cool completely and then cut it into 12-16 pieces.

No-Marshmallow Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

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