Gluten-free recipes that can also be made with alternative sweeteners are at a premium around our house. This yummy cookie is a cross between granola bars and crispy rice treats. It is easy to make, and packed with three kinds of fruit, nut butter, and a few kinds of seeds, and very forgiving if you don't have all of that on hand. If you have peanut allergies, you can substitute almond butter for the peanut butter. It's true, rice crispy cereal is lightly sweetened, but it seems like the amount of sugar is low enough that it doesn't cause any great harm to my brother who normally does not tolerate sugar well. (He seems to do fine with honey, fructose in moderation, and fruit.)
Makes about 20 2-inch squares
6 1/2 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup dried blueberries (I didn't have blueberries, so I increased the raisins and dried cherries)
1/2 cup dried raisins or dried zante currants
1/2 cup dried cranberries or dried sour cherries
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (I used a generous 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and some chopped walnuts)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup molasses (I used 1/4 c honey, 1/4 c. agave nectar instead of molasses and honey)
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Spray or lightly oil a 9-inch x 9-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil.
In a large bowl, mix rice cereal, dried fruit, and nuts together. Set aside.
Place peanut butter, molasses, honey, and butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir until butter has melted. Pour over cereal mixture, and stir to coat. Press mixture into prepared pan. Freeze for 30 minutes. Cut into 20 small squares. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
These bars were quite a hit around our house, and I just used what I had around. I expected the bars to be fine sitting out on the counter, but was surprised that they get soft enough to kind of crumble apart at room temperature. They really should be kept in the refrigerator. :)