Let’s all silently nod our heads in agreement that caramel is the bacon of the dessert world and just about anything is made better by the addition of it. Also like bacon, caramel is just as good by itself. When done properly caramel can add a whole other level of flavor, texture and aroma to just about any dessert out there. One time I dipped strawberries in caramel, then chocolate then I rolled the whole thing around in toffee.
The sun shone a little brighter that day because of my concoction.
Today I take a classic, the marshmallow crispy bar and bring it to a whole other level by adding just one thing, caramel. I’ll also share with you my secret for making the best darn crispy bar out there. The best part? You actually have to do less rather than more.
I like my marshmallow treats super soft, chewy and gooey. One of the biggest mistakes people make when making them is that they melt down the marshmallows too much, meaning when the bars cool, they also become rock solid. I always melt the butter in a huge pan and then add a bag of mini marshmallows (the big ones run the risk of not softening easily, leaving you with crunchy bits.) I then stir up the mini marshmallows to coat them completely with the melted butter and keep stirring until they are all fairly soft, but not completely melted. Once they’re to that point you can turn off the heat and the residual heat in the pan will soften them further.
My other tip is to not add as much cereal as recipes call for. Leave some space for pockets of gooey marshmallow goodness. I press mine into an 8×8 pan, no sense in having flat bars when you can have big chewy cubes right?
Now for the magic, I cut up unwrapped Werther’s Original soft caramels into little pieces, I spread some in the bottom of the pan, added about half of the melted marshmallows and cereal, spread another layer of the cut up candies then spread the rest of the cereal then topped the whole glorious pan with the remaining caramel pieces. There was just enough warmth left in the marshmallows and cereal to soften the caramels, they melted right down into the cereal without getting overly hard.
It took an ordinary treat to a whole new level of chewy, sweet, caramely goodness.
Feeling extra sassy? Add in some chocolate chips, mix in some hot chocolate powder, perhaps some peanut butter. Or just spread peanut butter on top.
Really your biggest issue is going to be resisting the whole pan.
- Follow your favorite recipe for marshmallow treats (mine is a half stick of butter + a bag of mini marshmallows + cereal)
- Melt the butter first, then add the marshmallows, turn the heat off as soon as the marshmallows are *almost* all melted.
- Use less cereal than suggested if you like them gooey.
- Layer in cut up pieces of caramel in the still warm cereal and marshmallows. (We used scissors to cut them up.)
- Try not to eat the whole pan.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble’s Toddler Times. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.