Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rice Crispies Treats - Easy

 












Top Chef Desserts is a popular "reality" show that pits chefs against each other in the dessert category (for the 3 people who couldn't tell from the name).  A recent episode featured a Bake Sale challenge.  Unlike earlier episodes, the winner was determined by the highest number of the items sold at a real high school bake sale.  While a few of the contestants made over-the-top gourmet items, because they are, after all, top chef wannabees, the winning dessert was that ol' comfort food, Rice Crispies Treats.  True, this particular Treat contained peanut butter, Nutella and chocolate frosting (extraneous ingredients which gilded the lily as far as I'm concerned).  But it was a Rice Crispies Treat!  Woo-hoo!  IMHO nature's most perfect dessert!


















Rice Crispies Treats are so awesome that youngerSon had me make a gigantic Treat as his bar mitzvah cake.  I decorated it with his rock-climbing theme (the climber on the right is worthy of Cake Wrecks, no?). 

The normally wonderfully plain perfectly goodness that is The Treat has only 3 ingredients, 4 if you count cooking spray (which I do not).   Yet pre-fab Treats fly off the supermarket shelves like they were the most complicated thing in the world to make.  Several years ago, a commercial explained how easy it is to make Treats, although the actual "how to" part was omitted. 

You can use large marshmallows to make Treats, but mini-marshmallows melt faster (more surface area exposed to heat.  I listened in class, kiddies!)

When I make Treats, they almost never make it to the cooled-off stage.  The kids and I (and by "kids and I" I mean mostly "I") polish off a tray while the melted marshmallow is still melty and sticky.  I've heard that Treats also taste good at room temperature.

Rice Crispies Treat
slightly adapted from Kellogs Rice Crispies
makes 12-18 servings, depending upon size of Treats

Cooking spray
3 Tbl. margarine
1 package (10 oz.) (about 4 cups) mini marshmallows (avoid stale marshmallows)
6 cups Rice Crispies

Line a  13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with aluminum foil (because no matter how much you directly grease the pan, some of the Treats will molecularly bond with the pan anyway and you'll need a chisel to get out a few).

TIP ALERT!  place foil on counter, then place pan over foil.  Fold up the foil to loosely cover pan on the outside (because it is easier to mold the foil around the pan than inside).

Take pan off foil, then drop foil into pan.  Now it's just a quick press to fit the foil around the inside of the pan.  Lightly spray foil with cooking spray.  Set pan aside.

Take a 12-inch square of wax paper, fold it up several times into a smaller square and set it aside as well.














In large saucepan melt margarine over medium-low heat.














Add marshmallows and stir with a wooden spoon (because metal might bend) until completely melted. If you have fresh marshmallows, this will take a couple of minutes, less if you use non-kosher marshmallows (fish gelatin melts differently than jet-puffed hooves marshmallows).  If you use stale marshmallows, this will take longer. 














If the marshmallows start to caramelize because you used some stale marshmallows, QUICKLY lower heat to simmer and keep stirring like mad to prevent the sugar from burning, thus ruining the entire batch.














Remove pot from heat.  Add Rice Crispies and quickly continue to stir with the wooden spoon until well coated (the Rice Crispies, not the spoon).














Dump the mixture into prepared pan.  Using the folded-up wax paper, press mixture evenly to the edges, refolding the wax paper, as it loses it magical non-stick powers, to expose a fresh side. 














Try to allow the Treats to cool. Using a sharp knife, cut into dainty 2ish-inch squares.   Store leftovers at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag.

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