Sweet-Tooth Friday: Vegan Millet Crispy Treats

[christine cooking photo]Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday everybody!  It’s Christine and I am totally psyched to be back—I took a small break with the last two Friday’s falling on Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I had a lovely holiday but now that the hustle and bustle is through I am ready to get crackin’ on 2010!

A couple things to resolve

Like my big bro, I look forward to making New Year’s resolutions and changes.  I have two main goals this year, and both are continuations of things I started in 2009.  I think that getting these out here publicly will help me stay on track.

1.  Try 52 new foods in 2010, or one new food per week.

Since I started writing Sweet-Tooth Fridays, I have continually ventured out to natural markets and ethnic stores in search of ingredients. In the process, I have tried so many things I had never had before.  My list includes tamarind, yucca, choyute, rhubarb, kukicha twig tea, coconut water, kumquats, stevia, hemp milk, and almond butter.  I’ve noticed that when making my weekly menus I am often in repeating cycles of lentil sloppy joes and black bean burritos.  So this resolution demands that my menu stays exciting and my palate expands.  I’ll keep you guys posted at the end of my dessert posts about what I discover each week.

2.  Make an exercise plan and commit.

EssentialsJacketIsn’t it funny how a small thing like the wrong playlist on your iPod can keep you from hitting the gym for weeks?  No matter how much I enjoy exercise while I am doing it, it’s always so easy for me to trail off and procrastinate it again.  For the first half of 2010, I have committed to 30 minutes of cardio 3 times a week and 30 minutes of Core Performance Essentials stretching 3 times a week.  I’ll keep the cardio off the pavement to avoid another stress fracture and reevaluate the plan as needed.

The new bakesale staple

This week for my healthy dessert I decided to try an update for the classic Rice Krispie treat.  I got the idea from a book I checked out of the library called Sweet Alternative, by Ariana Bundy.  All of the recipes are made without gluten, dairy, and soy.  Alas, if they only had nixed eggs as well I would be one happy baker.  The book is more geared toward allergies than lifestyle choices, but at least many of the recipes happen to be vegan without my sworn enemy soy margarine.

The recipe in the book calls for puffed quinoa, but at the natural store I could only find puffed kamut and millet, so I went with the latter.  Millet is chock full of vitamin B and has some protein too.

This recipe also includes rice syrup, and I reluctantly picked up a jar of organic brown rice syrup for around 9 dollars.  I say reluctantly, because I would like your opinion on this- why is brown rice syrup preferred over corn syrup? Besides the organic bit, they are both sugars taken from grains.  I see rice syrup recommended all the time in healthy desserts, but it makes me wonder if it is being glorified only on the basis that corn syrup is associated with junk food and sodas.  I’d love to hear your opinion before coughing up over double the cost again.

Vegan Millet Crispy Treats

[millet krispies ingredients]Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups puffed millet
  • 1/2 cup neutral-flavored dried fruits, like apricots and apples, finely chopped

Combine the peanut butter, vanilla, salt, and rice syrup in a saucepan and heat until boiling.   Remove from heat and immediately stir in the puffed millet and dried fruits.

Spoon mixture into a greased 8 inch square pan.  Press evenly to fill in entire pan.  Allow to cool, then cut into 16 squares.

[millet krispies photo 2]

These millet crispies smelled amazing and were really good- but they were just short of being awesome.  I think to have the ooey-gooey goodness of the classic treats these bars need more liquid or less millet.  Next time I will increase the peanut butter and rice syrup by 2 tablespoons each, but that’s just my preference.  I definitely recommend giving these bars a shot—try substituting puffed kamut, different nut butters or different dried fruits!

First Tastes of 2010: Pomegranate

Before I sign off, I just wanted to share my first experiment with my New Year’s resolution!  This week I tried a fresh pomegranate.  I have had this flavor in juices and tea, but I never cut up and and dug out all the juicy seeds for myself.  WOW!  No wonder this fruit is included in Greek mythology—I was in absolute ecstasy eating the seeds by the spoonful and enjoying the tiny crunch.  I can’t wait to include pomegranate in a cool dessert or an avocado salad.  A wonderful start to my new year of new tastes.

[pomegranate photo]

See you next week!
xoxo Christine



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  1. I’ve often thought the same about brown rice syrup. There might or might not be a lower GI with brown rice syrup, but even so in the end they’re both forms of sugar and should be taken in in moderation. These look great. I’ve made something similar in the past with brown rice puffs, honey, and peanut butter. It’s not vegan but honey is a great binder to make these that’s also low cost. You might even be able to use agave nectar and a little thickener in place of brown rice syrup in future recipes
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..Some Light Rawflections =-.

  2. I love your idea of eating a new food every week. I feel as if I am finally trying new foods. I have always cooked but I used to cook the same foods over and over, now I enjoy using new foods and trying new things.

    The crispies look great! I wonder what they would taste like by adding a few dates for extra sweetness — I am all about the sweet flavor 🙂
    .-= Whitney @ Lettuce Love´s last blog ..Carrot and Avocado Soup on a Freezing Friday =-.

  3. Hi Christine. I really enjoy your posts and excellent treats on Fridays. Kepp them coming! I am a brand new vegan and just recently started a much healthier life style. I was wondering if you could elaborate on your thoughts on soy margarine. I have been using Earth Balance, which is a blend of non-hydrogenated vegatable oils. I know this product is high in fat and calories, so I try to use them sparingly. Is there anything I might be missing about the healthiness of this margarine?

    • Thanks for the comment Jay- There isn’t anything specifically wrong with soy margarine, I just get frustrated when searching for healthy recipes because of all of the “soy copy” ingredients. I also enjoy soy products from time to time but try not to lean on them as a crutch. My goal is to make desserts that are naturally good, without anything “pretend.”

  4. Those look great! I love experimenting with different grains. I’m not really sure why brown rice syrup is preferred. I think it might have to do with the fact that corn is often genetically modified? Just a guess
    .-= Danielle (Coffee Run)´s last blog ..Pie for Breakfast…Pie for Lunch… =-.

  5. Those treats sound very interesting…I might just have to give them a try. I do like another poster’s idea of adding dates…yumm!

    As for the pomegranate, I had my first one a couple of weeks ago too. It is so good, and my two boys (2 and 4) loved it too! They thought it was really cool to actually be able to eat the seeds inside since almost all other seeds inside veggies and fruits have to be tossed. I actually made a homemade pomegranate poppy seed salad dressing from the Thrive book and it turned out awesome!
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..Humpastry Day! =-.

  6. Thanks for the comments! Aimee and Whitney- you could definitely use dates for the chopped dried fruit in this recipe, but I didn’t think they lacked any sweetness, just gooey-ness.

    Also, I finally found some info on rice syrup vs. corn syrup by searching specifically for glycemic index information.

    Turns out most table sugar and corn syrup has a GI in the 60s, whereas agave nectar is between 11-30, and rice syrup is around 20. (I was surprised to see maple syrup at 54 at honey at 65-85; both of those were on my ‘good list’).

    I found that info here: http://www.allaboutagave.com/agave-vs-liquid.php but still need to second it.

  7. I don’t have an answer for the brown rice thing, but I know that it’s the first ingredient in Vega Sport (sprouted brown rice syrup). In this video about it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXKgQ83rrKs, Brendan Brazier says that it has a GI of 90, so that it gets into blood stream fast (which is good for a sports drink, probably not so good otherwise). Interesting that it’s so different from the 20 GI you found; I wonder if the sprouting changes it?

  8. Great recipe. I am definitely going to have to try this one to help with some sweet cravings. Love the idea of trying 52 new foods too.
    .-= diana´s last blog ..Quick Update and The Champion Innovation Lab =-.

  9. I believe that corn allergies are becoming more and more common so considering the nature of the book, that is probably why brown rice syrup is preferred over corn syrup.
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Earthfare night! =-.

  10. Hi Christine! Love the blog!

    About the Brown Rice syrup; I’m pretty sure that regular (not sprouted) brown rice syrup has a much lower GI. It’s definitely true for brown rice on its own when you compare it to other grains.

    In addition, corn (being one of the most highly used crops, and thusly the most produced) is heavily genetically modified. Though there isn’t hard scientific evidence backing any links between genetically modified produce and health risks or issues, it is something I’ve seen the vegetarian/vegan community steer away from for years.

    Sometimes these modifications can be quite shocking. For example, it is rumored that genetically modified Roma tomatoes use a gene from a certain fish to help maintain bright color, and to speed the ripening process.

    Whether it’s urban mythology or not, I’ve found that the closer my food is to it’s original state, the more comfortable I feel with it.

  11. Those treats are freaking genius!!!

  12. Hello!! I came across your blog from another and love it!!!! I love all your recipes!!!! I am going crazy checking them all out!!! Keep up the awesome work!! You rock!!!


  13. I have also decided to try new foods..one new veggie every month. Have any tips for this month’s veggie…the brussel sprout? I have no idea what to do with those little guys!

    • Hey Tammy,
      I <3 brussel sprouts! The way I make them at home is by chopping them in quarters, tossing them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little honey, salt and pepper- then roasting at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

      Also, for Thanksgiving Erin made an awesome brussel sprout dish with hazelnuts and I think lemon- I'll have to find the name of the recipe because it was delish.

  14. nature mama says:

    Thanks for the recipe!! My son needs a treat for school and I came home with puffed millet and organic agave nectar/ maple syrup combo because they didn’t have any of the brown rice syrup in stock. I’m anxious to try your recipe and I’m hoping the agave/maple will work okay. 😉

  15. I made these today with kamut and the extra syrup and peanut butter and just let me say OH MY GOD!! they are so good! It’s funny that your rice syrup cost so much, over here in Aus it’s only $4.50, it’s the cheapest of all the syrups and honeys!
    Thanks for another awesome recipe. 🙂

  16. Hi Christine! i’m a new reader but I was wondering if agave syrup or honey can be substituted for the rice syrup? I’d love to make these!!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Sahale Glazed Nuts Giveaway! =-.

    • Hey Michelle,
      Rice syrup is pretty thick, so I’m not sure if the agave would do alright since it’s a little thinner, but I bet it’s worth a shot. Honey would be a fine substitution as long as you’re ok with them technically not being vegan. You could also try Lyle’s golden syrup, made from cane sugar.
      Good luck! Christine

  17. I just bought millet for my yogurt and was wondering if I could make crispy treats with it. I will have to try it out!

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