Desserts · Gluten-free · Holidays

Gluten-Free Reindeer Treats

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Why the name “reindeer treats”? The red, caramel and dark brown colors reminded me of a reindeer! One with a red nose, of course…

     This recipe is all about instant gratification!  Well, almost instant!
These clusters of deliciousness are quicker and easier than most of the recipes on my blog, so I consider that as instant as I can get.  If you forget to make something to take to a holiday function, to a work party, to a friend’s birthday, to your own birthday, or any other occasion that warrants snacking, these are the treats for you
Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

What I love about these snack clusters are their slight sweetness and their vague identity.  They have cereal in them so they could be breakfast.  There are also pretzels and popcorn, so that = snack, right?
Fruit and peanut butter is a classic lunch combination.
Chocolate and vanilla together is a classic dessert combo.
So, you’ve really got all your meals covered for the day with this recipe (minus dinner, but who has time for that?)!

All joking aside, though, these snack clusters are a delicious and slightly healthy way to indulge around the holidays.  This is a wonderful recipe to share, give as gifts, or munch on while you do festive activities inside or out!
Change up your dry ingredients for fun times.  As I was making these, I started to have a spiritual awakening thinking about all the fun things I could dredge in the peanut butter base.
Here’s a short list of what I thought of in those 5 minutes:

  • crushed shelf-stable vegan cookies
  • crackers
  • different cereals
  • different flavor extracts
  • candy pieces
  • graham crackers
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • chocolate chips/chunks
  • other dried fruits
  • different spice combinations
  • pumpkin

I hope I’ve inspired you to run with your wildest cluster-making dreams!
There are more holiday-themed recipes on the way, so stick around!  😉

Gluten-Free Reindeer Treats

Yield: Approx. 20 clusters
Free from: Gluten
Adapted from: Macrobiotic Rice Crispy Treats from The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics by Jessica Porter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (if unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free vegan cereal (I used Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise flakes)
  • 2 cups popped popcorn (homemade is best, unsalted)
  • 2 cups gluten-free pretzel pieces
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup melted non-dairy chocolate, opt.
Instructions

  1. Mix pretzels, popcorn, cereal, and cranberries in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and spices over medium heat.  Stir with a spatula constantly until the mixture becomes smooth and is just bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat.
  5. Pour the hot peanut butter mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir everything with a rubber spatula to combine.
  6. Scoop the desired amount (I used about 2 Tb each) of snack mix and place onto the lined baking sheets.  If the clusters fall apart, gently mold them together with your spoon and hands.
  7. Drizzle your clusters with melted vegan chocolate, if desired.  Let them cool before eating.  (Or not.)
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Or, maybe they’re called “Reindeer Treats” because we all need to leave the reindeer something, too. Let’s teach Santa to share!

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