Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars bring back so many childhood memories. These crunchy, marshmallowy treats whip up quickly and they’re always a big hit around our house. I make the lazy girl’s version and just melt everything in the microwave. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it doesn’t change the finished product a bit from the melt-on-the-stove method.
These bars aren’t just a delicious snack, they’re also a great way to introduce your kids to baking, even though there’s no actual baking in the recipe. This is one of those recipes that older kids can be turned loose to make on their own with minimal supervision once they get the hang of it. The best part is, they should only end up with a couple of dishes to clean at the end. Even if your kids aren’t old enough to tackle this recipe on their own, I find that little ones love helping to pour in cups of cereal. They also love stirring the marshmallows and watching them start to melt.
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While puffed rice cereal is the classic choice for this recipe, many other types of cereal can be used in its place. Obviously, the taste and texture will change depending on the cereal you use. I recommend using other light and puffy types of cereal — don’t try to use a shredded wheat or whole grain cereal. I have enjoyed this recipe with the cocoa version of puffed rice cerseal and have also make a corn flake version that was different but still very tasty. I would love to hear about your favorite cereal experiments with this peanut butter bar recipe!
I use mini marshmallows with this recipe. They melt quickly, uniformly, and easily in the microwave. Any other shape of marshmallow will taste the same and is perfectly acceptable, I just like working with the many ones. I have on occasion used marshmallow creme when I have some leftover from fudge-making. The texture of marshmallow creme is a bit different to me, and I don’t really like using it, although the difference it makes is small and probably not worth worrying about it marshmallow creme is what you have on hand.
“To top your Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Bars or not to top them?” that is the question. I do occasionally put a chocolate topping on this recipe. If I have baking chocolate on hand, I use that, but often I just use semi-sweet chocolate chips because I have them. I find 1 1/2 – 2 cups of chocolate chips melted is enough to cover the whole baking dish full of bars. As always with melted chocolate chips, the chocolate can be a bit grainy and there is often a chalky residue on top of the chocolate once it hardens again, but it tastes good.