I don’t know who doesn’t love a Rice Krispy Treat. That irresistible combination of ooey gooey marshmallow and crispy rice cereal is just so delectable, so addictive, so…processed. Many health-minded cooks have concocted their own versions using nut butters and brown rice syrup. That’s definitely a start. However, I take it a few steps further by adding some fresh vanilla bean powder and…hijiki. Yes, I’m talking seaweed. The balance of flavors is so perfect that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been eating these for years. It’s definitely the most fun way to get all those seaweed-exclusive minerals. And the taste: I promise you’ll never again crave a shiny blue wrapped, partially hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup laced bar again. You’re welcome.
Hijiki Brown Rice Crispies
Makes about 15 treats
3 tbsp dried hijiki
2/3 cup nut butter (walnut or almond butter are particularly nice)
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla powder*
4 cups crispy brown rice cereal (I like the Erewhon brand)
*Vanilla powder is the bean and the pod ground together. It is far more delicious than vanilla extract. Many commercial brands contain gross chemicals so make sure the only ingredients are the vanilla bean and the vanilla pod. To assure quality and longevity, I highly recommend getting it here and using it for all of your vanilla needs. Once you go powder, you’ll never use the alcohol-based extract again!
Soak the hijiki in a bowl of water for 30 minute. After it has rehydrated, drain completely and roughly chop. Set the hijiki aside. In a large pot, combine the nut butter, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, sea salt and vanilla powder. Heat and stir continuously until everything is completely combined and a bit water-y. This will happen fast. Remove from stove top and add the brown rice cereal and chopped hijiki. Stir until combined. Press into a parchment-lined baking sheet. Eat any remaining crumbs from your fingertips and the cooking pot. Freeze for 10 minutes, then cut bars into desired squares. Try not to eat every last one in a single setting.
One more important note: Make sure you buy crispy rice cereal and not puffed rice cereal. The former will create something spectacular, the latter will create something mushy.