Peanut butter chocolate chip crispy rice treats are made with a blend of honey and peanut butter instead of marshmallows. (Photo by Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

Peanut butter chocolate chip crispy rice treats are made with a blend of honey and peanut butter instead of marshmallows. (Photo by Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

Crisped rice treats without the cloying marshmallow? Sweet

This recipe calls for a coating of honey and peanut butter rather than melted marshmallows.

Whether you are someone who finds classic crispy rice treats irresistible (my daughter), or someone who would much rather a piece of dark chocolate for dessert (me), this recipe will satisfy on all fronts.

Like the childhood favorite, these are homey squares of crispy rice cereal held together with sweet gooeyness. But here the sticky, rich coating doesn’t come from melted marshmallows and butter. It is from a better-for-you and more deeply flavorful yet comfortably familiar blend of honey and peanut butter. Plus, these are made with whole-grain, rather than refined, rice cereal.

The treats are sweet enough that my daughter lunges at them enthusiastically for dessert and thanks me profusely for making them, and because they do not have the typical cloying sweetness, I enjoy them as well. I’ve used dark chocolate chips here, but they are also wonderful with chewy dried fruit in addition or instead.

Peanut butter chocolate chip crispy rice treats

This four-ingredient take on the classic treat uses a better-for-you but comfortably familiar blend of honey and peanut butter instead of the usual marshmallow and butter blend, as well as whole-grain, instead of refined, rice cereal.

Make ahead: The slab of treats needs to chill in the refrigerator for 40 minutes before cutting.

½ cup honey

¾ cup natural-style smooth peanut butter

⅔ cup semisweet chocolate chips (may substitute chopped dried fruit)

5 cups crispy brown rice cereal

Combine the honey and peanut butter in a large pot over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until melted. Remove from the heat. Stir in the chocolate chips and then the brown rice cereal, coating it evenly.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch shallow baking dish with cooking oil spray. Transfer the rice mixture to the baking dish. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over it to prevent your hands from sticking as you press the mixture evenly and firmly into the pan.

Cover and refrigerate for 40 minutes, until set, then cut into 15 equal pieces.

Makes 15 pieces. Nutrition per piece: 210 calories, 5 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 15 grams sugar.

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