Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chocolate and Pretzel Rice Krispie Treats

Who doesn't love a good rice cereal treat? I don't think I've ever met anyone that doesn't, or at least, I don't think I have.  I have so many memories of eating Rice Krispie treats from way back in the day when I was in elementary school and my mom would pack a snack size treat in my lunchbox.  Those were definitely one of my favorite snacks, and while I don't eat them anymore, every now and then I get a huge, inexplicable craving for that marshmallowy sweet flavor, and I just have to have one. It's a good thing most vending machines carry Rice Krispie treats, because it means I can easily satisfy my craving no matter when it strikes.   

With Halloween literally just a week away, I thought it would be fun to make a few Halloween-inspired treats that would be fun to make with kids, because who doesn't love homemade treats?  Amazingly, this thought happened to cross my mind at the exact moment I began to feel a Rice Krispie craving start to settle in, so it was obvious that I needed to include homemade Rice Krispies in my bag of homemade Halloween treats. I'd never actually made Rice Krispies before, but the steps really couldn't be any simpler.  If you can melt butter and marshmallows together, stir in some rice cereal, and press the mixture into a square pan, then you can make a batch of Rice Krispie treats without any problems.  

I wanted to make these Rice Krispies just a little bit over the top.  My favorite way of making anything over the top is by pouring a nice, thick layer of rich chocolate on top, so I knew that my Rice Krispies were definitely going to be covered in lots and lots of chocolate.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to mix into the treats, however. I was debating between M&M's or other crushed candy pieces, chocolate chips, or sprinkles.  I ended up going against all those ideas, because I decided that maybe, just maybe, that nice thick layer of rich chocolate that I wanted to pour on top would be a little bit too rich and sweet.  Something salty was the only way to go, and I knew that thin pretzel sticks, another one of my all-time favorite snacks, would be a perfect mix-in, and they sure were.  The pretzels added a subtle salty flavor that I think was really necessary to provide some contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate and marshmallow, and also introduced a welcome change in texture.  You can by all means choose a different salty snack (nuts? potato chips?) to mix into the rice cereal, or if you have a really big sweet tooth, you can go ahead and add your favorite candy.  The recipe is easy to adapt, so have fun and experiment!

These Rice Krispie treats would be perfect to cut up into squares and serve on a platter at your Halloween party, or, perfect for wrapping and passing out as a homemade treat.  However you choose to go about eating them, you'll find that their sweet and salty flavor profile will make it hard to stop at just one.  It's a treat that's easy to customize for kids and adults alike; all you have to do is get a little creative with the mix-ins. Just make sure that whatever you decide to mix in adds up to 1 1/2 cups to ensure that the recipe proportions stay the same. Enjoy!  

Chocolate and Preztel Rice Krispie Treats
adapted from Rice Krispies


3 tablespoons butter, divided

6 oz marshmallows
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 1/2 cups pretzel sticks, broken
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz dark chocolate


Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray.  Set aside. 

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the marshmallows, and stir until they have melted completely.  Turn off the heat.  Add the puffed rice cereal and broken pretzel sticks, stirring until well mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, and with an offset spatula, press the mixture into an even layer. 

In a microwave safe bowl or double boiler, melt together both chocolates and the remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring until completely smooth.  Pour the melted chocolate over the rice cereal mixture, and spread into an even layer.  Decorate the top with pretzel sticks, if desired, and place the pan in the fridge to set, at least an hour. Once the chocolate has set completely, use a butter knife to help remove the rice cereal cake from the pan (don't worry, it will come out even with no paper lining).  Cut into squares using a sharp knife, and enjoy!

Makes 1 8x8-inch pan of Rice Krispies treats, actual yield will vary depending on how big you cut them


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