Being the conscientious person that I am, I opted to test these babies with both peanut butter and sunflower seed butter for a nut free option. I often consider doing this, but love peanut butter so much that unless I’m taking them to a peanut allergy location, I often don’t “risk” it, worrying that I just won’t find it as delicious. Which is frankly ridiculous because I actually do quite like sunflower seed butter. I typically make my own, because a) it’s super easy and b) it gives me the option of toasting or not toasting my sunflower seeds before whirring them in the food processor (it takes a while to get to spreadable consistency, but literally, you just throw the seeds in the food processor and run it until it looks right. The biggest pain in the ass of making your own nut or seed butters is cleaning the food processor. So if you can handle that, you can handle this). However, it’s obviously totally commercially available for a reasonable price (assuming you’re not buying some kind of fancy “artisanal” sunflower seed butter. Fun side note that I just noticed myself (although I’m sure the internet has noticed this as well, but I legit saw this with my own seeing orbs) – have you ever noticed that “artisanal” = “art is anal”? Yeah, so now I totally understand where that word snobbery originated 😉 ), so you can totally just pick up a jar as well.
Also being the personally conscientious person that I am (i.e. not wanting to having a badgillion bars of temptation existing in my house), I opted to test these in the completely not allergy friendly way, of just splitting my baking vessel of choice into two halves, using the oh-so-classy and high-tech tinfoil (or as the Brits, Australians and New Zealanders seemed to call it “alu-MINI-um” foil):
Yeah, I didn’t think to take this picture until after I taste tested each side (and yes, you are correct in noticing that one side is in fact missing three bars…I just felt I really needed to make sure the peanut butter side was good…also Kevin ate one so that I could say I crowd-sourced the quality control stage). Oops 🙂 . Although seriously, I don’t think taking it sooner would’ve helped. This is photographically terrible. I never claimed to be a photographer though, and to be honest, it’s probably my least favourite part of writing this blog. Baking = maximum/supreme/swooning-joy love, blog post writing = (most of the time) super love (because puns!!!), photo-taking = meh (probably just ’cause I’m not that good at it). Other bloggers seem to be really awesome at this and I am often put to shame and feel some incredible embarrassment that I try and pass off my photos as internet-worthy, but no photos seems like a much worse idea, so you’re all stuck with me and my ineptitude.
Sometimes the photos actually get bad because I’m impatient to get started on the eating and/ or sharing of these, but I try really hard to save the “good ones” for the photos (so Kevin will come into the kitchen multiple times during the baking process and be all like “is anything ready for tasting/ testing yet?” and I have to slap his hand and banish him from the kitchen, or, if things are actually pretty much baked, then I have to yell at him that he “TAKE THE UGLY LOOKING ONES!!!” (to which his usual reply is, “umm…is this one an ugly looking one?” …sometimes they all exude a little (or a lot) of their inner Quasimodo, so I can see his point 🙂 ).
Anywho, end results of these? I actually really loved both. They are surprisingly similar in flavour profile. My homemade sunflower seed butter was made from super toasted sunflower seeds, so I would say the main flavour difference was that the sunflower seed ones had more of a toasted taste, and were slightly less rich/sweet (which I actually quite liked. I found I was eating them both equally just depending on the mood I was in, so I honestly couldn’t say that one was better than the other. And that’s coming from a person who would totally commit bigamy and marry peanut butter if that was allowed (because, yeah, it’s the BIGAMY that’s stopping me from marrying peanut butter…otherwise it would be totally legal right? Also, marrying peanut butter would add the risk into my life of peanut butter choosing to divorce me later, which I presume means I could then never eat it again and that’s just…just….sorry, I need a moment here *sniff* *sniff* *nose blow* *breathe deeply into paper bag*…it’s just tragic, that’s what that would be).
Discovery of the day? A nutter bar by any other nut butter turns out to be just as sweet.
Yield: 24 bars
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 3-4 tablespoons butterscotch liqueur OR 1 teaspoon caramel extract
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups rice cereal
- 2 cups vegan marshmallows
- Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish. For easier removal and slicing after, you could also line your dish with wax or parchment paper.
- Melt together chocolate chips, peanut butter, maple syrup, vegan butter and butterscotch liqueur (or caramel extract) in a small saucepan on low heat until mixed, stirring constantly. Alternatively, stir together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 1 minute intervals stirring in between until fully melted. Stir in nutmeg and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a larger bowl.
- Stir in rice cereal and marshmallows until fully coated, then press firmly into prepared pan.
- Refrigerate until firm, then slice into desired size of squares.