Oh, Little Debbie, how I miss you. It has been sooo long since I unwrapped one of your delicious treats. I am sorry, but you just don’t fit into my real food, clean-eating lifestyle. For a long time I’ve wanted to recreate some of my favorite treats as a kid, but improve them with healthier ingredients. Little Debbie’s Star Crunch cookies were a particular favorite of mine. It was such a special day when I opened my lunch box and found one waiting for me.
This month’s Recipe Redux challenge was to do some kitchen spring-cleaning. Sometimes items get lost in the pantry. An ingredient or spice that doesn’t get used gets slowly pushed to the back of the cabinet until we forget it was even there. With the Recipe Redux, I pulled ingredients in my pantry out of the darkness and into the light.
I bought a box of brown rice cereal a while ago thinking that I was going to make a healthier version of rice crispy treats, but never got around to it. I hate to admit it, but this box of brown rice cereal was in my kitchen for so long that it had a “Use By” date of some time in 2014. I hate for things to go to waste, and the cereal still tasted fine, so I knew this challenge of recreating Star Crunch treats was going to be the push I needed to finally put it to good use.
I am always reading ingredients lists so, out of curiosity, I took a look at was I was eating when I happily enjoyed eating a Star Crunch. Scary…
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Whey, Salt, Malted Barley Flour, Wheat Flour, Dextrose), Palm and Palm Kernel Oil, Whole Grain Oats, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil with TBHQ to Preserve Flavor (Contributes a Trivial Amount of Trans Fat), Water, Dextrose, Palm Kernel and Soybean Oils. Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Whey (Milk), Cocoa, Raisins, Molasses, Salt, Emulsifiers (Soy Lecithin, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sorbitan Monostearate, Polysorbate 60), Colors (Caramel Color, Red 40, Titanium Dioxide, Annatto Extract, Beta Carotene, Yellow 5, Turmeric, Blue 1), Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Eggs, Corn Starch, Soybean Oil, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Citric Acid, Pectin, Egg Whites, Sodium Citrate, Coconut (Sulfite Treated to Preserve Color), Dried Apples (Sulfite Treated to Preserve Color), Nonfat Dry Milk, Carrageenan, Spices.
That’s one turn off of an ingredients list. Kind of makes you not want to eat one…
It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a Star Crunch, but I still remember what they taste like: crunchy, soft, and chocolaty. While it is challenging to recreate processed foods in a clean way, I think my healthy take on the Little Debbie Star Crunch recipe is the perfect reminder of what used to be. Plus there’s no baking required! What was your favorite childhood treat? Have you found a healthier version that you can make? I’ve also got healthy, clean dessert recipes for Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, and Milky Way.
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup sun butter or almond butter
- pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups brown rice cereal
- In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat add the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, sun butter, salt, and cacao powder.
- Whisk together until everything is melted and the cacao powder is well incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the brown rice cereal and mix with a spatula until the cereal is evenly coated with the syrup.
- With a 1/2 cup scoop, scoop out the mixture onto lined baking sheet. Be careful - the mixture may be hot.
- Scoop all of the mixture out (mine made 10 rounds) and put in the fridge to set for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from fridge. The mixture should be cool enough to flatten with your hands and form into desired shapes.
- Put back in the fridge for another 30 minutes - 1 hour until fully set and ready to eat.
- If it is hot out or you want a firmer treat store in an airtight container in fridge.
- If is cool out or you want a softer treat store in an airtight container on the counter for up to one week.
Choose organic ingredients when possible.