The Stars & The Stripes: Rice Krispie Treats for the Fourth of July

When it’s time for family picnics and potlucks, a few of us bring salads.  Sometimes we’ll pitch in cut fruit plates or clever veggie dips.  The menu will vary, save one contribution.  My sister-in-law, Theresa, always brings rice krispie treats for dessert.  She has to, because she makes them better than anyone I know.  For something as quick as easy as marshmallow krispie treats, you’d think most people could put out a batch of them fairly successfully, but Theresa has somehow mastered the art of krispie making, thereby creating a solid family food tradition at every single holiday and party I can possibly remember.

That it, until this year, when my kids and I discovered packs of Airhead’s candy belts in red-white-and-blue.  Perfectly patriotic, we thought.  And so we set to work trying to one up Theresa’s most delicious rice krispie treats by making them adorable, too.  Here’s the inside scoop on making these simple, sweet treats.

To make these Stars & Stripes Krispie Treats, you’ll need:

2 bags of mini marshmallows, 1 large box of Rice Krispies, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 stick of butter, 1 can buttercream frosting, 2-3 packs of red-white-and-blue Airheads belts.

To bake up a double batch of marshmallow krispies, as found on the back of the box.  However, to elevate them to a true treat, here are Theresa’s three secret tips: (1)  Use real butter, (2) Melt the marsmallows over medium heat in a Teflon pot–but not all the way!  Remove the pot from the heat just when most of the marshmallows have melted (but there will still be a few marshmallowey lumps) to get gooey, chewy treats, (3) Stir a half teaspoon of vanilla into the melted marshmallow mixutre as soon as you remove it from the heat.

Add the appropriate amount of rice krispie cereal to the marshmallows, then press the mixture firmly into a lightly greased 9×11 pan.  Allow to cool.  Using a small, star-shaped cookie cutter, cut the cooled marshmallow krispies into shapes.  Spoon 1/2 cup of the frosting into a small, zip-top bag.  Snip a small corner of the baggie off, and pipe the frosting around the cut edges of star krispies.  Press the Airheads belts around the edges, using the frosting to secure it to the krispy treats.  (If you can’t find Airheads belts, just press red-white-and-blue sprinkles onto the icing.)  Pipe a small dollop of icing onto the center of each star, press a small red candy (M&M’s or Haribo Raspberries work well) into the icing.

Allow frosting to harden in a cool place before serving.  Enjoy!

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