"This is the best dessert you've made in months," my fiancé mumbles through a mouthful of chocolate. This is no small statement, considering that I bake at least four days a week, constantly make him test all manner of recipes from cakes to cookies. He rarely gives feedback, as he'll eat pretty much anything with butter and sugar in it. So when he pauses to give a comment, I know I've hit upon something worth revisiting.
These bars were borne of scarcity. I had a craving for a Rice Krispies-esque dessert: something sweet, crunchy, but also quick and no-bake. A cursory search of the pantry yielded no marshmallows, but I did have a box of crisp brown rice cereal. A longtime devotee of the hippie crispy treats recipe from Alanna, I figured I could improvise my way to something similar.
Cereal bars need a binder, which is typically achieved using marshmallows. Here, I've used tahini and bit of coconut oil (or butter will work) to hold the bars together. Peanut butter would work in place of the tahini, but I love the more subtle nuttiness that tahini adds. It's like a more sophisticated peanut butter cup, plus plenty of crunch!
There's a lot of dark chocolate in this recipe: It is not for the faint of heart. The texture falls somewhere in between that of a cereal bar and a candy bar, like the love child of a Rice Krispie treat and a Nestle Crunch bar.
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The cereal keeps the squares light and crispy, so you don't feel like you're eating a square of chocolate, although the flavor is just as rich and intense. If you prefer a slightly sweeter bar, feel free to use semisweet or milk chocolate in place of some of the dark chocolate. Since there are very few ingredients, I do recommend using the best chocolate you can get your hands on.
Keep in mind that these bars are very prone to getting melted and squidgy around the edges, so I store them in the freezer. It's best to eat them right away when you unwrap one.