Very Special Rice Krispie Treats

I defy anyone to not like a home-made rice krispie treat. They are great, drop dead simple, and make people happy. Those of us who bake/cook do it to make people in our lives happy. These also make me happy – so a total score!dd_1562

I had an accident once with rice krispie treats. It was probably common enough, but it made for a major advancement in my recipe. I had put my unsalted butter in a sauce pan to melt before adding the (mini) marshmallows and was not paying attention. Unbeknowst to me, I had created a light version of brown butter but went ahead with the recipe – this, people, is a game changer. No shit. Game Changer. It gives the treats a nuttiness that is simply amazing.

So then I started to think what else could I do to make these simple treat special? Well, let’s see – marshmallows are vanilla flavored so why not a bit of vanilla extract while we’re doing this – gild that damn lily. Then I think I had one of the best thoughts lately (maybe ever). What does sweet food love more than salt? Um, nothing. So after the treats were in the pan, I sprinkled them with Maldon salt. Holy Hell. Yup.

So here are the particulars … based on memory because I just kind of winged it.

4 Tbs unsalted butter
10 oz-ish bag of mini marshmallows
1 Tbs vanilla extract (the really stuff, please)
5 cups rice cereal (snap, crackle, and pop, stuff – Publix brand works really well)
2 tsp Maldon salt – or your choice of sea salt, something flaky though

Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray and set aside. Melt butter in a light colored sauce pan that way you can see when it starts to get just a bit brown. Add the marshmallows and stir to start melting. When you feel in the mood add in the vanilla. Once marshmallows are melted, stir in the rice cereal and coat with marshmallows.

Dump marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and using wet hands smooth it into an even layer. Sprinkle the pan with Maldon salt.

Then – eat for breakfast because you know all the cool kids are doing it.

Star Crunch or fancy-ass rice crispy treats

I don’t have a lot of experience with star crunches – a little Debbie thing – but I have a friend who asked if I could make them for him. I get the impression it was because it was a favorite childhood treat. So, given a challenge of any sort, I just try to make it work.D&D_0956

First thing I noticed was no-bake, which in my head usually means no-brain involved – there it is – I said it. Suffice to say this is a fancy rice crispy treat – had no idea.
So this is not difficult to do, but it takes a bit of time and I already have some changes for the next time. No surprise.

11 ozs caramels
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows (about 1/2 bag)
4 cups rice crispy cereal
12 ozs bag Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips
2 Tbs vegetable shortening

Line a baking sheet with parchment*. Measure out the 4 cups if rice crispy cereal. In a large glass bowl, add (unwrapped) caramels and microwave in 30 second bits, stirring as you go. When caramels are mostly melted, add the butter and keep up the same routine. The butter and caramels won’t completely come together. There will be little pools of butter. Add marshmallows and keep doing the same 30 second thing.

Once all is as close to combined as you can get it, add the cereal and stir to completely combine. Quickly, using wet hands, shape into disks. Place on parchment to cool and firm up. Cover with plastic wrap at let sit 2 hours or up to overnight.

In a large microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and vegetable shortening. Melt in a 15 second interval. The original recipe said to do this with half at a time and that was a saving grace. You didn’t scorch the whole batch, but could work with half at a time while keeping the chocolate flexible enough to work with (hate ending a sentence this way). I just used my hand to dip the disks in chocolate and it worked well. Put them right back on the parchment sheet and put in the fridge to set up. They can sit out at room temperature after this point, but I kept them in the fridge and thawed for a few minutes before eating.

These went over famously at work. I guess it was because I !finally! made something chocolate. My friend who asked for it said it wasn’t quite right (Again, no frame of reference), and who am I to argue, but the raves of others made up for that.

Bench Notes: my gut told me, and I should have listened, not to use milk chocolate. Ugh (Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? When Andie McDowell realizes she tried fudge. “Yuck. I don’t even like fudge.”) Yep. That’s how I’m feeling about this milk chocolate right now. Ghirardelli is always the way to go, but I should have used semisweet instead.

* Just received refillable parchment from King Arthur Flour for this baking season. Woo hoo excited. And that, my friends, means I’m easily amused.