Red-Eye Treats

This image courtesy of Celine Steen

Editor's Note: Here's a sweet take on your favorite childhood dessert! This recipe for Red-Eye Treats uses instant coffee to create a treat that you will love sharing at a potluck or picnic, or even packing in your lunch. This four-step recipe is easy to follow, and the puffed grain dessert is ready to eat within just a few hours. You and your friends will love the unexpected (and delicious!) combination of instant coffee with peanut butter in this easy dessert recipe. The next time you're craving something sweet, don't reach for a bag of candy from the grocery store; instead, whip up this tasty dessert. 

Rest assured that the quantity of coffee in these crispy treats won’t be enough to keep you wired all night long; it merely adds a touch of caramel flavor here.

If your wrists aren’t getting any younger and you’re afraid of stirring a dense, sticky situation, use your stand mixer—it won’t crush the puffed grain.

Serves8 treats



Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe CourseDessert

Dietary ConsiderationVegan, Vegetarian

EquipmentBaking/gratin Dish


Taste and TextureCrunchy, Sweet

Type of DishDessert


  • ¾ cup (192 g) natural crunchy or creamy peanut butter or any nut butter
  • ½ cup (172 g) brown rice syrup
  • ½ cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup or (168 g) agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon (4 g) instant coffee or coffee alternative powder
  • 1/3 cup (27 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups (96 g) puffed grain, such as brown rice or kamut, plus more as needed


  1. Combine the peanut butter, rice syrup, maple syrup, instant coffee, and cocoa powder in a medium-size saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for a couple of minutes to dissolve the coffee powder and to make combining easier. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and stir to combine.

  2. Add the puffed grain to a large bowl, pour the wet ingredients on top, and mix well until it is coated with the sticky mixture. Add more puffed grain if you are looking for denser treats, or if the mixture looks too wet.

  3. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan with parchment paper. Add the mixture and press down firmly, using more parchment paper to flatten.

  4. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer for about 1 hour, then cut into 8 pieces. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.


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