September to us is back-to-school even if none of us have any school to head back to these days. And with it, we can't help thinking about after-school snacks. One snack that stands the test of time are puffed rice treats, though these days we make them less Rice Krispy Treat and nix the marshmallows in favor of almond butter and dark chocolate. And maple syrup! Because nothing tastes more like Fall to us than maple syrup. So, these treats are made of maple syrup, warm cinnamon spice, nutty almond butter, and a layer of chocolate. Because even if you don't need an after-school snack, it's always welcome, you know?
Coat the bottom of a metal spatula and a 8-by-8 baking dish with cooking spray then line the pan with parchment paper; set aside. Meanwhile, combine the almond butter, maple syrup, honey, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium pot (one big enough to hold the cereal) and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until just combined and smooth.
These will make nearly 2-inch thick treats — if you want them thinner, make this in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
Remove from heat and add the cereal and mix a lot until every piece of cereal is well coated. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish and flatten with the spatula. Set aside to let the treats come to room temperature and firm, at least 15 minutes. If you like the treats very crisp, place them in the refrigerator until completely cool.
If you want the treats crispier, go ahead and let the almond butter mixture cool for 15 minutes before stirring with the cereal.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave or by using a double boiler until it is smooth and pourable. Spread the chocolate over the top of the treats and, using a spatula, spread it into an even coating. Place mixture in the refrigerator and cool until chocolate is set, about 20 minutes. Cut into 16 squares (or 1-inch by 3-inch rectangles as I've done here) and serve.
Treats can be made up to 4 days ahead of time — store them covered in the refrigerator to keep them crisp.
Food styling and photography by Aida Mollenkamp