Saturday 3 October 2009

Peanut Butter & Cranberry Rice Krispie Squares

I have a great fondness for rice krispie squares. When I was little they always appeared at my birthday parties, either chocolate or the sticky chewy caramel ones. Recently I had promised to make a slice of some sort for an afternoon tea gathering with friends. I had all sorts of ideas running through my head but none of them felt right. I then hit upon the idea of rice krispie treats and knew this idea was bound to be popular with my friends.

As much as I love the traditional krispie treats, I wanted to give them a bit of a twist. Recently I have been seeing a lot of granola bar recipes featuring peanut butter and decided that this would be the perfect flavour to introduce to the krispies squares. I also decided to add some dried cranberries as I thought the sweet and tangy flavour of the cranberries would go well with the creamy, slightly salty peanut butter. A sort of take on a peanut butter and jelly/jam combination. The peanut butter gave the bars a golden colour, while the glossy red cranberries also helped brighten the appearance.

The squares came together in a matter of minutes and the peanut butter behaved very well in the mix, melting in nicely with the other ingredients. You want to melt everything over a low heat, as the peanut butter would start to thicken if you let it boil. No doubt tasty, but not that practical for coating the rice krispies with.

Not only are the krispie squares very quick to make, but they are also no bake and gluten free! (Do check the ingredients list on your rice krispies though – although most are gluten free). The bars were a hit with my friends. The creamy nutty flavour was quite subtle at first but it developed as you chewed and the occasional cranberry added a nice contrasting tanginess.

Peanut Butter & Cranberry Rice Krispie Squares

60g butter
60g golden syrup
100g smooth peanut butter
50g dried cranberries
100g rice krispies

Line the base and sides of a 7inch/18cm square tin with clingfilm and set to one side.
Place the butter, golden syrup and peanut butter together in a pan. Stir the mixture over a low heat until the butter has melted and the peanut butter has become smooth and well combined. You do not want it to boil.
Stir in the cranberries and remove from the heat.
Pour in the rice krispies and quickly mix everything together with a folding motion, ensuring all the rice krispies get evenly coated.
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Place another sheet of clingfilm on top and press down firmly to ensure the rice krispies are well compacted.
Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Remove the rice krispie square from the pan and slice into squares.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes 9 – 12 squares depending on how large you cut them.