Blog Crispy Rice Treats

Blog Crispy Rice Treats

Here's a simple and fun project for a rainy day or an impromptu playdate—crispy rice cut-outs. All the ingredients are easily stored, so you can buy them the next time you're shopping and keep them on hand until you need them. The recipe below is the standard Kellogg's version, with a couple of minor embellishments: a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. And it uses a bit less cereal, which makes them easier to work with. The recipe is scaled up to use in a half sheet pan or jellyroll pan—the bars come out just a bit thinner than usual, which, again, makes them easier to cut.

Between the marshmallow inside and the candies stuck to the top, these treats are plenty sweet—a coating of frosting would be sugar overload. Creamy peanut butter makes a more sensible and just as effective "glue." Another great choice, particularly if any of your little cookie artists have nut allergies, is cream cheese. I like to use the low-fat kind, because it's soft and spreadable. You can sweeten it if you like with a teaspoon or two of sugar or honey, and you can tint it with food coloring. As for the decorations, use whatever candies suit your fancy, but don't forget healthier alternatives like raisins, dried cranberries, banana chips, and oat rings.

Kids as young as two can be involved in all the parts of this project (apart from the stovetop work)—they love helping to press the bars flat, pouring the decorations into small bowls, choosing the cookie cutters and cutting out the shapes (with supervision), and squeezing or spreading the peanut butter or cream cheese on the top. And, of course, eating! Have plenty of washcloths for wiping fingers and faces, plenty of milk on hand to wash the snacks down with, and have fun!

Optional Toppings and Decorations:

Creamy peanut butter
Lightly sweetened low-fat cream cheese
Raisins and other dried fruit
Licorice strings

My favorite shapes for Crispy Rice Cut-Outs include the Turtle cookie cutter, the Car cookie cutter, and the Whale cookie cutter.