It’s that time of year again folks, that time when malls switch their muzak selection to a continuous loop of Christmas tunes*, when every commercial has a holiday message, and when you start fielding a plethora of dinner and potluck invitations. I have to admit I love this time of year, the inevitable ramp-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, though I could have done without the ridiculously early onslaught of Holiday-themed music this year – a few spots I can think of started BEFORE Halloween. Heathens.
* I nearly went nuts the year I worked Christmas at The Gap. There was no respite. The same 18 Christmas songs over and over again, without mercy. I still cringe whenever I hear those 18 songs now, and it’s been over a decade since I worked there.
I figure it’s time to share a recipe that was inspired by one of my friend Myra’s favourite recipes. She ushered me into gluten-free cooking with gusto, as she was forever providing me with delicious edibles that were both vegan and gluten-free. Not only is she a fellow foodie (I’d say about 90% of our conversations centered around food), but she’s a terrific communicator. Check out her website if you have any doubts (or are wondering why the hell I’m calling her a terrific communicator – it’s a weird adjective, I know) and be sure to watch her documentaries.
I’ve made this nut-butter version of rice crispy squares many times, each time a little differently and each time to the delight of whoever was the recipient. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s forgiving (in fact I’d say fool-proof), easy and yummy. It’s sure to please all those poor vegan, gluten-free people clamouring for something to eat at an office potluck. Bring a batch of these, and you’ll be their saviour.
I encourage you to put your own spin on these crispies, whether it be raisins, cranberries, nuts, coconut, etc. Let the world be your crispy.
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 cup syrup (maple, agave, light corn or a combination of any of them)
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of nut butter (my favourite combination so far as been peanut butter and hazelnut butter)
- 2 cups puffed millet cereal (for chewiness)
- 1 cup corn flake cereal (e.g. NaturePath Mesa Sunrise, for crunch)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Grease a deep baking dish (the oil spray is easy, but a finger covered in coconut oil works just as well), then set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and syrup until melted. Add the vanilla or almond extract (not both, they don’t always play nice) and stir until combined. Now add the nut butter and mix until you’ve got a smooth sauce. Set aside. Place your cereal in a medium bowl then pour the sauce over top. Mix to ensure even coverage, then add the chocolate chips (or whatever other goodies you’ve got in store for it). Give it a quick mix (don’t over-mix because the chips will start to melt), then dump the mixture into the glass dish and press it down firmly with a spatula or your fingers so that it’s even and dense. Now stick the whole thing in the fridge for about an hour before serving, or in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Once it’s set, cut it into squares and go to town. These squares are such a great combination of chewiness and crunch, they’re a sure-fire crowd pleaser.