These vegan peanut butter cup rice krispie treats are a PBC (that's "peanut butter chocolate") lover's dream come true. Marshmallowy cereal treats meet peanut butter and chocolate in these crispy, nutty, divinely rich (and yet light and airy) bars.
When it comes to sweet things, there are few flavor mashups that rival peanut butter and chocolate. I mean, have you tried these peanut butter buckeye bars? If you love the PBC combo as much as I do, you should. Scratch that. You need to if you haven't already.
But these pb cup rice krispie treats might just have those beat. I know, I know. I'm speaking boldly here. So I'll let you be the judge. Give this recipe a go and report back.
A peanut-butter infused, marshmallow-dotted crispy rice cereal treat is topped with a fudgy, nutty chocolate layer.
These easy treats require just six ingredients (plus salt) and 30 minutes of time from start to finish. They're the perfect addition to summer potlucks and parties, and their (slightly) elevated nature means they appeal to all age ranges.
And yes, they're Sloane-approved (here's a clip of her enjoying the first recipe trial). She particularly enjoys the chocolate topping. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Alright, now that I've (peanut) buttered you up to the idea of making these treats, let's talk recipe details.
Below you'll find step-by-step photos and tips, but go on and scroll straight down to the recipe if you're confident you've got this one handled/eager to get treat making.
You'll start by whisking together natural peanut butter, brown rice syrup, a small bit of coconut oil, and sea salt in a large pot over medium heat.
A quick word about brown rice syrup: There really isn't a substitute for this super thick, sticky syrup. Other liquid sweeteners (e.g., maple syrup, agave, etc.) are much too thin and don't offer the same texture and binding qualities.
Point being: Substitute at your own treats' risk!
You can find brown rice syrup at Whole Foods and other "health food" stores. You can also find it online (←affiliate link), although it's quite a bit pricier (about 60% more than you'll pay in stores).
The great thing about brown rice syrup is that it lasts a long while, and you need a good bit of it for this recipe anyway.
I promise your syrup hunt will be worth it!
Whisk the mixture together until it's smooth, glossy, and caramel-like. Then, remove it from the heat and whisk in a bit of vanilla extract.
Side perk: You can totally stop right here and use this mixture as a vegan substitute for peanut butter caramel. It's similar to my favorite 5-minute vegan caramel recipe only thicker and less oily.
Once the peanut butter syrup mixture is ready, stir in three cups of crispy rice cereal and ¾ cup vegan mini marshmallows.
FYI, the mini marshmallows are totally optional. You can simplify the ingredient list by omitting them and upping the rice cereal amount to 3 ½ cups (see recipe notes). Having said that, they add a fun texture and chew to these crispy bars.
Once the rice cereal is evenly coated, scoop the mixture into a parchment-lined 8 x 8-inch pan.
Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and use your hands to press and compact the cereal mixture into an even layer in the pan.
Pop the pan in the freezer to cool and firm.
And get started on the chocolate topping...
Originally, I tested these bars with a swirled chocolate and peanut butter topping situation (which you might have noticed in the video of Sloane). But it just wasn't giving enough of the peanut butter cup vibe. And so I ditched that idea, and came up with this one:
A cup of semi-sweet chocolate melted with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter.
The peanut butter isn't visually detectable when combined with the chocolate, but it adds the most lovely subtle nuttiness and transforms what would typically be a crisp chocolate layer into a fudgy, dense, silky one.
Once you've melted the chocolate and peanut butter into a smooth, glossy, dreamy consistency, retrieve the pan of treats from the freezer.
Then, pour, pour, pour that PB chocolate topping on...
And tilt the pan back and forth to evenly coat the entire surface.
Return the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes, or until the topping layer has set. Then, slice into squares.
These treats are quite rich, so I tend to slice them into 25 small squares. But you can absolutely slice them into 16 medium squares or even 9 large squares. Your treats, your slicing call.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you make it, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #blissfulbasil on Instagram.
Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispie Treats
PB Crispy Treats
- ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter*
- ½ cup brown rice syrup**
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 to 3 ½ cups crispy rice cereal***
- ¾ cup vegan mini marshmallows optional
Peanut Butter Chocolate Topping
- 1 cup non-dairy semi sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
- 2 tbsp creamy natural peanut butter*
- Line an 8 x 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside along with an extra sheet of parchment paper.
- In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and sea salt for 3 to 5 minutes, or until smooth and glossy.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
- Next, stir in the crispy rice cereal (see note***) and marshmallows (if using).
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and use your hands to press and compact the mixture into an even layer in the pan.
- Transfer to freezer to begin to firm and cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter chocolate topping. Melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a double boiler over low heat until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat once melted.
- Pour the topping over the chilled bar. Return the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes, or until the chocolate layer has set.
- Slice into 25**** small squares. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to two weeks.