I can’t rightfully call them Rice Krispie Treats because I cheaped out and got generic cereal. But you know what? Any cereal will taste just fine when covered with melted butter and marshmallows (and food coloring). Now I’m not going to lie to you, these seemed like a quick and easy enough treat at first. I remember making them in high school with my sister, maybe for a bake sale or something. I feel like while I was making these the other night, I had flashbacks to that time with her, in the kitchen on Elm Road… and snippets of aggravation just from those little memories should have been a forewarning of what would follow. In fact, I believe they were foreshadowing, but (alas) just as in literature, you don’t realize what’s to come until it does. Oy.
Here’s the deal- melting butter and marshmallows is pretty easy, mixing in the cereal isn’t such a chore in itself either. The tough part came when it took me nearly 45 minutes trying to get them out of the GD (well-greased!) dish before work this morning. The recipe recommended aluminum foil to line the dish, and I laugh at that suggestion because when I tried it to keep the layers in the containers separated they wouldn’t come off the foil. Finally I just gave in and used parchment.
But, in terms of taste, these treats cannot be beat and for the smiles it brought to everyone it might nearly be worth the sacrifice of blisters on my fingers after trying to use 3 different utensils to try to pry the treats out of the Pyrex. Yes, I was screaming and swearing at 8 in the morning. I thought I was being ingenious… I made the treats a day ahead so I wouldn’t have the last-minute rush to finish before work (haha), and not only that I figured since these were simple kids’ snacks surely I wouldn’t have a problem making them. But I digress…
I tinted these green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, but you can obviously leave them plain, or use any kind of coloring you want! (I used gel icing coloring because I’m not sure how the liquid texture of regular food coloring would affect the marshmallows.)
I got this recipe from the side of the box and only adapted it so I could make more bars for work. I made a recipe and a half(ish).
MARSHMALLOW SQUARES (RICE KRISPIE TREATS!)
- 6tbsp butter (3/4 stick) – I used unsalted
- 1.5 bags plain marshmallows, large or small (I used one bag small, half bag large)
- 9 cups rice krispies (or comparable generic rice cereal)
- wilton gel icing color in kelly green (optional)
See, just 3 ingredients! How could that be difficult? hahahaha. Oh, I’m sorry… muahahahaha.
Grease a 10×15″ baking dish with butter. (This clearly did not work for me, so maybe parchment/aluminum foil/wax paper would work better. Godspeed.)
Over low heat in a large sauce pan, melt the butter. While that’s melting, measure out your cereal into a large bowl. By the time you’re done, the butter should be melted, and you can add your marshmallows. The box says to stir constantly until melted, but it will take a while for the ‘mallows to be affected by the heat. I’d recommend letting them sit for a bit to get warm, then start stirring occasionally.
Total active time said 15 minutes for the entire recipe, but it probably took a good 10 minutes to get the ‘mallows melted. I experimented with raising the heat a bit, but then got paranoid I’d burn something so I turned it back down. Once the marshmallows were mostly combined, I added the icing coloring. I added probably 6 or so “toothpicks full” until I got a green I was happy with. (You know, where it looked more intentional than moldy.)
Now here’s where things got hairy for me because I assumed I knew better than a recipe did. Note – I do not know better than a recipe. Another note – the green of the marshmallow mixture above is what the bars ended up looking like, not like some of the pictures you will see below. Flash, no flash, natural light, or using a white background just cannot convey this particular color and I do not know why. But now you know.
Anyways, back to the recipe. Once your marshmallow mixture is smooth, remove it from the heat. Immediately add your cereal and start mixing. If I had extra hands, I might have added a little at a time instead of dumping the entire bowl into the pan, but such is life. Now here’s where I should have just stopped trying to be smarter or more efficient than a tried and true recipe. I thought if I kept the marshmallows melty, ie over heat, the cereal would combine more easily. Not the case. It’s still sticky and messy even when it’s warm. In fact, the heat probably makes it worse. Can I please stress to you how sticky this concoction was? Like ridiculous. You can even see the little spider webs of marshmallow hanging on for dear life as soon as you lift the spoon from the pan.
That being said, wait a minute for the mix to cool off a bit more once the cereal’s incorporated before putting it into your baking dish. It will still be plenty maleable for you to “smooth” it into the pan. Spread it all out, and let it cool. I just let it cool on the counter overnight. It doesn’t need that long, but as you know by now I like making things at random and late hours. Hey, fun tip! I read somewhere that running your hands under cool water will allow you to pat down these treats without them sticking. That is false! I couldn’t get one hand unsticky enough to unstick the other and turn on the tap in the sink. Seriously, just let them cool off a bit first if you’re worried about that. Then I used the back of a spoon to flatten it all out. Check me out, learning and junk.
Now here’s the thing, when I went to cut them last night (look at me trying to be ahead of schedule) they were still super sticky and didn’t really seem set. That was after nearly 24 hours of sitting out (covered) on the countertop. So I thought a better solution would be to pop them in the fridge to harden up. Maybe that would make cutting easier. No it did not. I even greased the damn knives (plural) and spatula (I was trying anything) to see if that would help the process. It didn’t.
Here comes the part in this entry where I welcome any suggestions for doing this in the future. I saw someone else (ahem, Joy the baker) had popped out the entire mass from the dish and cut on a countertop. I don’t know how that’s possible, as I couldn’t for the life of me to get any of the edges unstuck. All I can guess is that she used more butter than me, that’s not really a guess – I read her recipe, and maybe that accounts for something. Anyways, sawing (stabbing really) with a butter-knife proved slightly more effective than the steak knife, and using two hands I could sort of shovel the treat out from the bottom of the dish with a metal spatula. In all I got 24 good sized bars, and that’s all I really wanted. I guess you could say the ends justified the means in this case, but really I’d welcome easier means.
I’ll tell ya though, as much as they didn’t seem worth the effort I put forth in freeing them from their glass enclosure (I really do have blisters on my fingers), they tasted fantastic and most of them went before lunchtime. I wasn’t going to bother with an evil rating, unless you want to rate how evil I found the task of cutting them this morning, except that one of my coworkers walked by me while taking a bite of one, then threateningly held the remainder of the square out in my direction and said “damn you!” That’s gotta be at least a 2, right?
Despite my complaining, I got nothing but compliments about them (how hard is it to compliment something with marshmallow and butter in it, really?), and they seemed to help lift spirits, or at least keep people awake, in our insanely busy workplace today. (The green beer helped too.) Anyways, I hope these classic treats find their way into your lives if you haven’t had one in a while. It’s a flashback in a bite.