BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Back to the Roots

13 Comments

A flavor that defies all seasons and locations, root beer is nonetheless inextricably linked to memories of my childhood summers, celebrations both big and small in cozy easy coast suburbs. Reserved for grand finales rather than the accompaniment to a meal, this fizzy elixir would rarely arrive at the party alone. Creamy scoops of ice cream always set those bubbles off in perfect contrast, the pale vanilla dollops slowly melting, melding into the dark sea of syrupy sweetness. If you were lucky, it might all be topped off with a swirl of chocolate syrup; just enough to hint at a cocoa undertone, never so much as to steal the show.

Few desserts have shaped my palate quite like that combination, inspiring a wide range of spin-offs over the years, the most “famous” of which can more or less lay claim to landing my first cookbook deal. No matter how many times root beer re-enters my consciousness, in any sort of shape, I will never grow tired of its unique spices, herbal and earthy in all the right ways.

It’s effortless to infuse root beer flavor into absolutely anything, thanks to the magic of baking extracts and concentrates. Armed with this secret ingredient, I’ve set my sights on another adolescent favorite: The classic rice crispy treat.

Not only is the flavor more mature, but the grains themselves are all grown up. There’s still some rice in there for good measure, but it’s kissed with cocoa, adding a greater depth to the whole conversation. Most notably, tiny flecks of crunchy quinoa cereal and popped sorghum round out the affair, lending a distinctive nuttiness not found in the original invention.

That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing treat for kids and adults alike. Lacking the fancy cereals, this formula will easily work with all rice crispies just as well. Go ahead and play around with your top breakfast cereals, because as it turns out, just about anything light and crunchy will do. Bathed in a binding mixture of root beer and maple syrup, even the most humble of breakfast fodder can be transformed into an ambrosial sweet snack.

Nostalgia is a strong pull for the overall concept, but the flavor itself will bring you back for more, whether you grew up indulging in root beer floats or not.

Popped Root Beer Crispy Treats

2 Cups Crispy Quinoa Cereal
2 Cups Cocoa Crispy Rice Cereal
1 Cup Popped Sorghum
1 1/2 Teaspoons Refined Coconut Oil*
1/2 Cup Grade B Maple Syrup
6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Root Beer Extract

*Opt for refined coconut oil to minimize the coconut flavor, or if you’d prefer, simply use your favorite vegan butter instead.

Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Combine both cereals and popped sorghum in a large bowl. Set both aside.

Set a medium saucepan over low heat and begin by melting the margarine coconut oil. Once liquefied, add in the maple syrup, sugar, and salt, stirring as needed until the sugar crystals dissolve. Bring the mixture to a steady boil and then cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, until it appears to have thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the root beer extract.

Pour the contents of your saucepan over the dry mix and fold it in carefully but briskly with a wide non-stick spatula, being careful not to crush the cereal.

Pour everything into your prepared pan and gently press it out into an even layer. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Makes 10 – 12 Bars

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

13 thoughts on “Back to the Roots

  1. Oh my gosh, I had NO IDEA that you can buy root beer extract! You’ve just changed my life. Seriously.

    Also love the idea of your root beer rice krispie treat! I’ll have to test it out with the cereal as well. :-P :-)

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  2. I didn’t know there was such thing as root beer extract! how awesome!

    my son’s 15th birthday is in a week and root beer is his favorite soda of all time. I think ill make these as a special birthday treat!

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  3. There is nothing…NOTHING beige about this website. I follow a lot of vegan food blogs through my RSS feed reader and sometimes it’s like watching lemmings jump over a cliff. Someone tweaks something and BAM! Everyone else follows and you get nothing but sweet potato brownie bites or cacao smoothie bowls over and over and OVER again for the next few months. I follow a lot of vegan food blogs from other countries now. I don’t care that I have to use Google Translate in order to read them because they are incredibly inventive and tend to make things from scratch that are exciting and that stretch the limits of what we vegans assume is our humble lot. You slot right in with those overseas blogs Ms Hannah. Your recipes are exciting, innovative and don’t rely on riding someone elses viral sweet potato brownies to try to cash in on their viral potential. Cheers for just being “You” ms Hannah. We luv’s ya for it :)

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    • Your words make my heart positively sing! I couldn’t fit in or follow the pack if I tried, so I feel lucky that I can convert my oddball approach into a positive thing. ;) For as long as I do blog, I promise you’ll find no sweet potato brownie bites here! Thank you for always being my cheerleader, dear Narf. You know exactly what to say to brighten my day, if not whole week, in just one comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. I had no idea that Root Beer Extract is a thing! This is crazy! Also your pictures look great!

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  5. I love making rice crispy treats and chocolate crispy treats, but I’ve never made them with alternative cereal grains—what a great idea! Your treats look spectacular. I love the rich brown color and the tiny little quinoa and millet grains. Excellent!

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  6. Pingback: Popped Root Beer Crispy Treats - Yum Goggle

  7. I need to buy root beer extract now because this looks amazing, perfect fun recipe for our next family gathering. Thanks!

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  8. Root beer extract, quinoa, sorghum?! You are a creative genius Hannah! That is an insane coincidence that Tony posted about your root beer cupcakes on Instagram on the same day as this post (I had no idea he was doing that)!

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  9. This recipe looks so lovely and unique! I love the post title too. Cheers! :-)

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  10. Root beer was the drink of choice at my family gatherings too, growing up it was always a rare treat not an everyday thing. You’ve made it extra special with the Root Beer Crispy Treats, it’s like two treats in one. Woo hoo! :-)

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