They’re bursting with flavor but still really low-calorie!
Every two or three months, I frantically phone my favorite hair stylist, practically begging her to snip off my billions of split ends. Yes, I realize most ladies regularly schedule hair appointments for six-week intervals, but I’m too easily distracted by perfecting recipes for cookies and brownies and forget to set aside the time. Thankfully, my angelic stylist always manages to squeeze me in the same day I call, and she greets me with a smile as I pull open the door.
I first discovered her shop about three years ago, and it’s the first salon where I felt completely comfortable the second I walked in. She decorated her small, two-seat space with cozy olive green paint and classy gold embellishments, stacking the waiting area seats with squashy pillows and a Lego table for kids. (I always want to play with it myself!)
Even more importantly, the stylist is real. No thick layers of make-up or posh designer clothes or perfectly curled highlighted hair. A motherly character, full of warmth and love, she usually turns the radio to the classical station, and the soft notes of Beethoven and Bach (the composers of my high school concert band days!) comfortably swirl throughout the store.
She originally called me “Amy the Chemist,” but after my career change, she now inquires how my baking is going whenever I visit. She typically suggests something fancy to try—French macarons, Scandinavian princess cake, tiramisu—and even offered to lend me her favorite dessert cookbook during my last haircut.
We chitchat while she measures and snips (well, until she plugs in the blow dryer), and after she brushes each strand and lays it in place, she always compliments me with her thick Middle Eastern accent, “You have such beautiful hair! The color, the texture… Just beautiful.” By the time I reach my car, I’m positively glowing.
Just like every visit to her salon, these special rice krispie treats are sweet and comforting. Although they resemble the classic squares, these low-calorie bars hide a fun flavor twist. Juicy strawberries stud each square, providing a bright burst of flavor against a delicious cheesecake background, but they’re still really light: only 86 calories each!
Although they sound elegant, these Strawberry Cheesecake Rice Krispie Treats are so simple; you only need 5 ingredients to make them! Rice krispies, marshmallows, butter, strawberries, and instant pudding. That’s it! Even with this short list, make sure you set out everything before beginning because the process goes rather quickly.
I always add in extra marshmallows compared to the classic Kellogg’s recipe. More marshmallows = extra gooey. Nobody enjoys dry rice krispie treats, and mixing in more marshmallows always prevents that. I usually opt for mini marshmallows because they’re easier to measure, but jumbo-sized ones will work just as well.
The instant pudding mix provides all of the cheesecake flavor. I chose a box of sugar-free to keep the calorie count lower, but whatever you normally stash in your pantry is fine. Not a fan of cheesecake? Try white chocolate, lemon, or even chocolate fudge—all of those flavors pair perfectly with strawberries!
Although I really enjoy fresh berries, my wallet complains about their out-of-season price tag during the winter. To avoid its whining, I picked frozen strawberries for this recipe—just like with these chewy granola bars—so you can make these all year round! The fruit adds a lot of moisture to the rice krispie treats, which turns them soft and chewy. These will NOT be hard and crunchy like typical rice krispie treats, but I actually like that a little better. The super crunchy ones tend to hurt my gums when I bite into them, but not these!
Look at that gorgeous color! The perfect shade of Valentine’s Day red, these skinny Strawberry Cheesecake Rice Krispie Treats still taste like summer—sweet, juicy, and fun. With their soft chewy texture, every gooey bite will bring a smile to your face… And your tummy!