Whether you’re warding off evil spirits, or simply marking the beginning of chillier weather, there is something magical about passing up store-bought treats and decorations and making them by hand.
This year we sampled two recommendations from A Year Between Friends, a month-by-month chronicle of the friendship between Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes, who live 3,191 miles apart in Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine.
MAV’s autumn leaf-colored luminaries took less than 20 minutes to make and all of $3.98 in materials—probably even less for those of you with organized spice drawers. Which is all the better as once you’ve seen them glowing in your kitchen you will want to make dozens more and give them to all your friends (wrapped in twine, with tea lights, as MAV recommends). We hope you’ll find the book on November 8 for full instructions, but will hint that we had great results with turmeric.
SCB contributes a thoughtful take on Rice Krispies Treats using brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup-filled marshmallows. This recipe makes 28 small or 15 large squares.
Excerpted from A Year Between Friends:
Peanut–Crispy Rice Bars
- 2/3 cup (165 ml) brown rice syrup
- 2/3 cup (165 ml) natural peanut butter (or another nut butter like almond or cashew)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 cups (180 g) crispy rice cereal (I use Erewhon’s Rice Twice)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or other flake salt (optional)
Line an 11 x 7-inch (28 x 17-cm) baking pan with parchment so the parchment hangs over the short sides.
In a small saucepan, heat the rice syrup, peanut butter, and vanilla over low heat, stirring constantly, until blended and liquefied (a few minutes). Immediately combine the peanut butter mixture with the rice cereal in a large mixing bowl, then toss until the cereal is very well coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it out to create an even layer and pressing gently into all the corners. Sprinkle the top with the salt if desired. Allow to cool in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes. When cool and firm, lift out of the pan by the parchment and slice with a serrated knife (I do small squares for sharing and larger ones for school lunches). Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in the refrigerator for up to one week.