A Halloween Treat for Kids with Food Allergies
Credit: purdman1 on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Fun for Adults Too
and super easy to make
Halloween is so much fun that I refuse to accept that I'm too old to dress up and have fun. But what isn't so fun is having to toss out half of your (or your child's) Halloween treats because of a food allergy or sensitivity.
So every year I look for new ways to create treats using my trusty gluten-free staples: Kellogg's Gluten-Free Rice Krispies Cereal, Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, WowButter (a non-GMO Pure Canadian Toasted soy butter that tastes just like peanut butter), and Baby Mum-Mum's Rice Rusks.
In the last few years, I've looked for products that contain no animal by-products. And, for the longest time I had no idea that marshmallows contained gelatin from pig skins, hooves, and cattle bones.
I've tried a few brands of vegan marshmallows but the one which is ideal for making rice krispies treats is Dandies Mini Marshmallows. The "classic vanilla flavour" is strong enough that you can even skip adding (and mixing) vanilla extract to your recipe. Oh, I like it when I can skip a step, don't you?
Credit: DarylLouie on flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Dandies Vegan Mini-Marshmallows
Kosher, G-F, Animal Free, Non-GMO, Tapioca-Based (10 oz /283 g)
Dandies Mini-Marshmallows - Vegan, Animal Free, Non-GMO - 10 Oz. Bag - Tapioca Based Vegetarian Treats
Amazon Price: $7.95 $5.95
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
These can be hard to find, so I thought I should show them to you. The ingredients: tapioca syrup, cane sugar, tapioca starch, water, carrageenan, soy protein, and natural vanilla flavour. Allergy alert: contains soy
The Basic Recipe
Prep: 15 minutes | Total: 20 mins
I created the basic recipe from one I found on Lisa's Project: Vegan website titled Marshmallow Rice Crispy Treats. For some reason, 3 tbsp. of Becel Vegan wasn't quite enough so I used 4 tbsp. In her recipe, she used Earth Balance (which may have a different consistency), so I left it as a range.
NOTE: If you are using regular sized marshmallows, Kellogg's recommends 40. However, I've found it easier to go by weight (about 280 g is what you need). Sometimes my man-servant tells me he only finds large or jumbo sized marshmallows.
TIP: To prevent marshmallows from drying out (if you are storing them for long periods of time), freeze them in a sealed plastic bag.
3 - 4 tbsp. Becel Vegan or Earth Balance
1 pkg. (10 oz / 283 g) Dandies Mini-Marshmallows (Classic Vanilla Flavour)
6 cups Gluten-Free Rice Krispies cereal
Optional (if you cannot find vanilla flavoured marshmallows): 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In a large skillet over medium heat, add your vegan "butter" substitute of choice and give a good stir (it doesn't need to be completely melted, just soft). Add mini marshmallows and keep stirring until both ingredients are completely incorporated. Turn off heat.
Add gluten-free rice cereal (2 cups worth at a time is easiest) and combine until everything is coated and sticking together and set aside to cool a bit.
Pull out your favourite large casserole dish (9 x 13-inch / 3 quart) and either lightly grease it with "butter" substitute or line it with parchment paper.
Scrape out mixture from large skillet into prepared casserole dish and press down until the corners are "filled" and the top surface is flat. (Don't press down too hard, since rice rusks will be inserted to form the gravestones).
Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal
Made with Whole Grain Brown Rice
Kellogg's Rice Krispies Gluten Free Cereal, Whole Grain Brown Rice
Amazon Price: $7.65
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
My local grocer carries these now, but some people report having difficulty finding the gluten-free Rice Krispies. What impressed me the most is that these are manufactured in an entirely different facility (and are the same price as regular Rice Krispies). For people and kids with Celiac disease, it's imperative that there is no chance of cross contamination on shared equipment lines.
To Create a Scary Graveyard
Nothing could be simpler or tastier
To keep this recipe gluten-free and vegan, I used the following brands (if you don't need to be on a strict diet, you can use regular chocolate chips, peanut butter, or any type of biscuit you like for gravestones).
Note: If the biscuits break or chip, don't worry - they look even cooler and creepier.
The great thing about this part is you don't necessarily need to set quantities or amounts for the Halloween embellishments. You can drizzle the melted chocolate and use as much or as little WowButter, rice rusks, or sprinkles.
My Staple Gluten-Free items: WowButter
Enjoy Life Choc Chips, G-F Rice Krispies, Rice Rusk
Credit: RoseWrites on InfoBarrel / All rights reserved
Prep: 15 - 20 mins | Total: 30 mins
1 - 1.5 cups WowButter (depends on how thick you like it)
1 pkg. (10 oz) Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
10 - 12 Baby Mum-Mum's Rice Rusks (you get 2 biscuits in each individually wrapped package)
Optional: Let's Do Sprinkelz Gluten-Free Chocolate or Assorted Sprinkles
Allow your basic rice krispies squares to cool down to room temperature.
Pull out your WowButter (or other peanut butter tasting spread of your choice) and spread desired amount as evenly as you can over the top of the rice krispies in the casserole dish. Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
In a double boiler (or in the microwave), melt chocolate chips. Stir them as they melt and set aside to cool 5 - 10 minutes.
Scrape or drizzle 1/2 the melted chocolate over the WowButter topped rice krispie casserole. Cover with wrap again and allow to solidify in the fridge while you decorate the rice rusks (or other biscuit) "gravestones."
With the other 1/2 of the melted chocolate, scrape it into a sandwich baggie (a good quality, freezer one is best). After sealing the bag with the melted chocolate, gently knead the bag to push chocolate to one corner.
Here's the part where you need to be extra careful:
First, set out all the rice rusks you want to use for gravestones on a platter that will fit in your fridge. Break off one end of each rice rusk (you need to embed the broken edge into the rice krispies later).
With sharp scissors, snip a tiny hole in the corner of the melted chocolate bag to create a piping bag (aka icing bag or pastry bag). Carefully draw whatever you want on each rice rusk. Return the platter of "gravestones" to the fridge to set for 20 minutes.
While gravestones are chilling, pull out rice krispies casserole dish to allow it to warm up (it will soften the top layer a bit, making it easier to embed the gravestones).
Once gravestone icing is set, gently push them into casserole until they can stand alone. Cover with sprinkles (if you wish). I found the gluten-free chocolate sprinkles looked most like fresh dirt, so I chose it instead of assorted ones.
Or Make a Parchment Paper Piping Bag
This 1-minute video shows you how:
Let's Do Sprinkelz Gluten-Free Chocolate
For those who need gluten-free sprinkles
Let's Do Sprinkelz Chocolatey, Gluten Free, 1-Ounce (Pack of 12)
Amazon Price: $25.08 $24.85
(price as of Oct 26, 2014)
This was the smallest quantity I could find on Amazon. I wanted to show you what the package looked like in case a smaller quantity becomes available (or you find them at your local grocer). There are two packets of sprinkles in each box (which retains freshness). Each packet can top about a dozen cupcakes.