Just one bite of a Rice Krispies treat and I am immediately transported back to my childhood. That’s to say, I end up covered in bits of cereal and melted marshmallow, no matter how hard I try to avoid it. Like, how does it get in my hair… I’m bald?! But it is all worth it! That said, I don’t eat these much anymore because of the vegetarian thing. So I was thrilled to try out this vegan version using aquafaba.
½ cup aquafaba (chickpea brine) 1 cup sugar ½ teaspoon cream of tartar 2 tablespoons agar-agar flakes 1 teaspoon xanthan gum Pinch of salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon Bourbon 6 cups Rice Krispies
You are probably wondering, WTF is aquafaba? Well, it's the liquid from canned chickpeas. Yes, I said chickpeas. This liquid has similar properties to that of egg whites and can be used as a substitute. Google it and you will be amazed at what people have created. Anyway... add 1/2 cup of the aquafaba to a small sauce pan along with 1 cup of sugar. Warm the mixture over a low heat until it is fully combined.
NOTE: TIP: When cooking with aquafaba, it is important to strain it well before using it. For one, you don't want bits of chickpea in your Rice Krispies treats now do you? Also, the substitute might have trouble performing if it isn't free of loose bits.
Oh, by the way, this sugar to liquid ratio is called a rich syrup. Simple syrup is a ratio of 1:1; rich syrup is 2:1.
Add in the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and mix to combine.
NOTE: Cream of tartar is essential for whipping up egg whites and it works here too. When you beat egg whites, air is introduced into the liquid and the proteins start to unfurl (this is called denature). Eventually the beaten down proteins will lodge themselves between the air bubbles and the liquid, creating white fluffy egg whites. However, the proteins can get overworked and your fluffy whites will flop. Cream of tartar, an acid, prevents this from happening by lowering the PH and making the denatured proteins more stable.
Add in 2 tablespoons of agar-agar flakes, turn up the heat to medium, and whisk the syrup until the agar-agar has melted and thickened the syrup. Agar-agar is a gelatin alternative derived from algae.
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the teaspoon of xanthan gum. Be careful, xanthan gum loves to clump up so make sure you are whisking and adding it at the same time. Both agar-agar and xanthan gum are commonly used in gluten-free baking as the viscosity they add is gluten-like.
Transfer the mixture to your stand mixer using the whisk attachment and add a pinch of salt. Start the mixer off on slow and then slowly bring it to full speed. Remember, this syrup is hot, so the last thing you want is to get sprayed with it! Whip the mixture on high for a few minutes, right when the mixture is turning white, and then add in the bourbon and vanilla. Continue whisking on high until the mixture becomes almost paste like, about 5 minutes.
Now add in the Rice Krispies using the paddle attachment! I say 6 cups but you might have to adjust this. Basically, you want enough cereal such that the Rice Krispies are covered in the faux-marshmallow paste but not dripping with it. There also has to be enough to keep them stuck together.
Take a 9x9 pan and line it with parchment paper. Transfer the cereal mixture to the pan. Take another piece of parchment and cover the pan. Using both hands, press down on the Rice Krispies, making the pan level.
Store the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes and then serve!
Okay, there are a few gotchas with this recipe. Since they are made without gelatin and real eggs, there are some fundamental differences. They are not going to be as gooey or stick together as well. They also won't hold as long. Regular treats can last a few days or more, not these. It is best if you make them for rather immediate consumption. The longer they sit, the better chance of them getting a bit soggy. You can keep them in the freezer for some time, but even then... just eat already, will ya?
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Jerry James Stone
Food pornographer, full-time vegetarian, pointy beard enthusiast, and I say 'hella' too much. Founder and creator of Cooking Stoned.