When I lived in Boston, I would go out of my way anytime I was near the South End to stop at this bakery called Flour. But instead of pining after the flashy pastries, like croissants, cinnamon rolls or sticky buns, I always searched the display case for their brick-sized gooey brown butter crispy rice treats (a.k.a., Rice Krispie Treats not made by Rice Krispie). Something about the stickiness combined with the crunchiness—and just the fact that they are enormous—it felt like Christmas.
But when I went vegan, my whole crispy rice treat love affair went on hold, since 2 of the 3 main ingredients in classic rice krispie treats are butter and marshmallows. Now, you can find vegan butter and marshmallows that do a really great job of replicating the originals (my favorites are Earth Balance for butter and Dandies for marshmallows), but keep in mind that I wanted to eat these in brick-sized blocks, so I was hoping for a healthier route. Those vegan replacements taste like the originals, but they tend to rely on lots of highly processed sugars and oils.
So in this recipe, I nixed the butter and marshmallows altogether. Instead, these crispies get their gooey texture from sticky brown rice syrup (I have come to the conclusion that brown rice syrup is just the yuppie’s corn syrup) and the rich flavor from creamy almond butter (yuppie peanut butter??).
The recipe is adapted from a tiny little spiral-bound cookbook my aunt got me from a restaurant in Victoria, BC—The Green Cuisine Gluten Free Cookbook. I tweaked it by upping the vanilla and throwing in cocoa puffed rice rather than chocolate chips, which I thought went too melty and made the bars too hard when cooled.
These bars come out sticky, gooey, and rich, but still airy enough that you feel like you can eat a huge slab at once. ^_^ Perf.
In other news, we are considering renting out our “guest house” on Airbnb, and I wanted to give y’all a little preview of our renovations.
Now, before you go gasping for breath that we are a 20- and 30-something with a guest house, remember this: there have to be some perks to living in Waco, and gettings lots of house for your dollar is one of them. Still, I consider us super lucky to be in this position.
When we moved into our 1920-built house in 2014, it came with a dilapidated pool house (And a pool! What a dream!), complete with an aging prefab sauna and a wood-paneled bar area. For a year we used the shack to store pool noodles and collect wasp nests (and once, a racoon). But it was nearly falling down, and because of building laws that have to do with power lines and boring city codes, we had to choose between tearing it down for good and renovating it.
So we’re renovating! And it’s almost done. My favorite features include:
- The outdoor shower
- The little workout room complete with a giant mirror and room for 2 yoga mats
- The marble tile and classic wallpaper in the bathroom (leftover from our house)
We still have to furnish this thang, but I wanted to get this “before” pic out there so we can look back on where we started.
I have dreams of renting this place out to Fixer Upper fans and Baylor alums in for the weekend, but who knows what the demand is! We’ll see. In the meantime I’m having fun making it feel luxury on a budget. So far I have plans to make use of white towels and bedding (so it feels like a hotel), and lots of repurposed mason jars—because mason jars—and flowers from the garden.
Have any of you ever put your place (or part of it) on Airbnb? What should I watch out for? Help me, I’m afraid of liability!
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- ½ cup smooth almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups whole wheat puffed rice cereal (unsweetened)
- 2 cups whole wheat cocoa puffed rice cereal
- In a large, shallow pot, heat rice syrup, almond butter, and vanilla, stirring with a spatula to combine. Stir over medium heat until small bubbles rise to the surface and the spatula leaves a bubbly line on the bottom of the pot when you drag it through (that means you can tell the mixture is starting to caramelize.
- Working quickly, dump all the cereal in and stir to coat.
- Turn out the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and top with another piece of parchment paper. Press down until it’s about 1.5 inches high. Use a spatula or pastry knife to shape it into a square (more or less - amoeba shape is fine too!).
- Slide the parchment with the crispies on it onto a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate until solid. Slice into about 20 squares and store in the fridge or on the counter. I like to store them individually wrapped in plastic so I can grab and go!
The Waco Vegan is no longer updated. You can find me over at RandleBrowning.com instead.