Nothing takes you back to childhood like mini marshmallows but as responsible adults, we also want to eat a little healthier and avoid wasting food. These Rocky Road Rice Bars do both - they're a fun, sweet way to use up leftover rice (and add a little extra fibre) in a chocolate and peanut butter treat that will summon up childhood memories.
This recipe is sponsored by USA Rice Canada. For more great rice recipe ideas visit Riceinfo.com.
Growing up, one of my absolute favourite treats was a Rocky Road bar. If you, like me, are a child of the 70s and early 80s you remember them - those mini marshmallow filled chocolate peanut butter confections that showed up at school fairs, birthday parties and potlucks. Or any time your mom needed a super quick dessert for a crowd. They were the cupcakes of their day.
There were lots of variations - some had peanuts in them, others were made with just peanut butter and no chocolate and sometimes they were butterscotch flavoured. And if you were lucky enough to have a mom who bought the multi-coloured pink, green and yellow mini marshmallows, you called them Confetti Bars.
Recently, in a wave of nostalgia, my local indie coffee shop has started selling them and I have to admit, I love them even more for it.
Giving Rocky Road Bars a Makeover
There's nothing healthy about a Rocky Road bar and I'm not going to pretend that this variation is going to turn you into a model of healthy living. But they are going to add a little extra fibre to your day and they're going to help you get rid of some leftovers from your fridge.
The secret? Cooked brown rice! Brown rice is considered a whole grain. It's outer hull has been removed but the bran layers are intact. That means you get additional vitamins (especially B’s), minerals and fibre. It also has a chewier texture than white rice (which is a perfect addition to these squares) and a mild, nutty flavour.
Did you know that only 1 out of 10 Canadians eat enough whole grains? Just one cup of cooked brown rice provides two of the three recommended daily servings of whole grains.
You don't need to cook up a pot of rice especially to make these Rocky Road Squares - just use up leftovers! Rice is a very common leftover in a lot of homes and this is a great way to avoid wasting it - everyone will gobble up these squares!
If you usually don't have leftover rice, just cook extra next time you're serving it for dinner. You'll need one cup of cooked brown rice for these squares.
We also added in some toffee chips for a little extra buttery, slightly salty crunch!
Creating Rocky Road Rice Bar Variations
Just like there were multiple variations of these bars when I was a kid, you can get creative and add your own twist.
For more peanut flavour and extra crunch, sub a cup of roughly chopped peanuts for a cup of the marshmallows.
Salted peanuts or even roughly chopped pretzels will make for a really enjoyable salty/sweet treat that adults might prefer.
Or you can add in dried cranberries for a little tartness along with some shaved coconut. It's up to you!
If you're feeling festive or fancy, go ahead and buy those multi-coloured mini marshmallows. You're a grown up now - you can splurge if you want to!
Serving and Storing Your Rocky Road Rice Bars
These bars can be quite rich so you can cut them quite small. You can do 9 very generous bars for a full on dessert serving or 16 or even 20 bars for a snack sized serving.
You don't want these bars to get soft and mushy so it's important you store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days (they probably won't last that long).
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice
- 5 cups of mini marshmallows
- ¾ cup of toffee bits
- ¼ cup of butter
- ¾ cup of smooth peanut butter
- 2 cups of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Grease a 9x9 baking dish and set aside
- In a large mixing bowl toss together the rice, marshmallows and toffee bits and set aside
- Melt the butter and peanut butter in a medium sized saucepan over low heat. Once they've melted stir in the chocolate chips.
- Continue to stir until the chocolate has just melted into the peanut butter and then remove from heat. Do NOT let the chocolate scorch or it will not taste good. You can even remove from heat before the chocolate chips are completely melted and continue to stir - the warmth of the mixture will melt the last few bits
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the marshmallow mixture and stir together until the marshmallows and rice are coated in chocolate
- Turn out into the baking dish and gently press down until the corners of the dish are filled
- Chill in the fridge for about 3 hours before cutting into bars
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Salted peanuts will make for a salty-sweet bar which is also really tasty.
If you want something more colourful, use multi-coloured marshmallows.
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- Instagram and Twitter: @USARiceCan
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- Riceinfo.com for great recipe ideas, nutrition info and cooking and storage information.
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