A snack that kids would adore

 12 Dec 2016 - 12:41

A snack that kids would adore
Kids can make puffed rice "elves" with only a little adult help. Photo for The Washington Post by Goran Kosanovic

The Washington Post

Parties just aren't as good without homemade treats. But your mom and dad may already have their hands full of special snack requests before you mention needing food for a class party or a get-together with your friends. Why not take the lead on your own party contribution?

We came up with an easy no-bake recipe, adapted from one at Cooks.com, that's a twist on traditional crispy rice treats. Puffed brown rice cereal combined with sugar, honey and your favorite nut or seed butter makes for a chewy but less sweet version of the familiar marshmallow squares.

The cookies can get dressed up for the holidays. A corner dipped in melted white chocolate becomes an elf hat. Dots of the melted chocolate also can "glue" on mini chocolate chip eyes. Check the baking cabinet for sprinkles, colored sugars, coconut or other decorations to make this recipe something you can call your own.

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Parent's help: Yes.

Kitchen gear: Measuring cups and spoons, saucepan, large spoon, 9-by-13-inch baking pan, parchment paper, heatproof bowl, serrated knife.

Hands-on time: 15 to 30 minutes (depending on decorations)

Total time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Makes: 24 squares (12 servings)

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Puffed Rice Squares (No-Bake Elves)

MAKE AHEAD: The squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Ingredients

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup honey

1 cup almond butter (may substitute sesame seed butter or creamy peanut butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 cups puffed brown rice cereal (from 1 box)

10 ounces white chocolate chips, melted

Food coloring (optional)

Flaked unsweetened coconut (optional)

Mini chocolate chips (optional)

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Steps

Combine the sugar and honey in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved; the mixture will darken a bit. Stir in the almond butter until well blended. Turn off the heat. Add the vanilla extract, then stir in the puffed rice cereal until evenly coated.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch square pan with cooking oil spray, then line the pan with parchment paper that's long enough to hang over two sides.

Transfer the cereal mixture to the pan, pressing it in evenly. Let it cool and set up.

Meanwhile, place the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl; set the bowl over a saucepan with a few inches of barely bubbling water (over medium heat). Once the chips have softened, stir until smooth. Remove from the heat.

If you're using food coloring, pour some of the melted white chocolate into one or two deep containers that are wide enough to allow dipping the squares. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir to blend evenly.

Use the parchment to lift the puffed-rice-cereal slab out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a serrated knife to trim about 1/2 inch off the edges on all four sides to make clean edges; cut the slab into 24 equal squares. Lay a separate piece of parchment paper nearby.

Working with one square at a time, hold it so it looks like a diamond, with a point at the top. Dip this into the white chocolate to create a triangle shape, coating half of the diamond. Transfer to the clean parchment; use coconut flakes or sprinkles to create a face or decorations for the hat. Use two dots of white chocolate to attach mini chocolate chips for the eyes.

Let set completely (about 30 minutes) before serving or storing.

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Nutrition per serving (without decoration): 260 calories, 6 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar