Do you remember those commercials for rice cereal treats, where the mom would sit in the kitchen reading Shades of Grey and drinking chardonnay for an hour while the kids and stereotyped clueless dad would hover in the living room, drooling, and waiting for all of her hard work to pay off? Then she’d put a pinch of flour on her cheek and stumble out of the kitchen like she had picked every single grain of rice herself, and the world was her oyster.
Those were awesome.
These days we, meaning the drooling kids and stereotypical hands-on dad, like to get in the mix ourselves (Mom has a standing invitation), and we like to experiment.
Lately our experiments have run toward the seasonal and we’ve tried all sorts of variations on the standard puffed rice cereal bar. We have mixed it up by trying different flavors of marshmallows (toasted coconut and pumpkin spice being the favorites thus far), and we have added other ingredients as well — chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel have all passed with flying colors.
Our newest project is the caramel apple crispy rice treat thingy, or however that needs to be worded so as to avoid copyright infringement.
- 6 cups puffed rice cereal (while Rice Krispies are the standard we often use Trader Joe’s version)
- 1 10 oz bag of marshmallows (we’re not using the flavored marshmallows for this treat as the caramel and apple pack enough on their own)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 packet of apple cider mix (we tried a healthier version with apple sauce and I don’t recommend it)
- A bunch of caramel squares (we prefer Werther’s Chewy Caramels, which are more rectangle — actual shapes may vary). I suggest “a bunch” because this is really up to you. When the boys and I were searching for inspiration online we saw that one person making caramel treats suggested 50 pieces, and frankly that is too much for us. We are happy around half that.
- Chop chewy caramels into smaller pieces and melt in a saucepan
- Melt butter in a separate saucepan. Mix in marshmallows and stir until melted. This is usually a job for one of the boys as constant stirring keeps the mix from burning or getting too thick. We have tried doing all of the above steps in one saucepan, and it worked, but the caramels take a bit longer to melt and we have found it easier to get them started first.
- Add apple cider packet to melted butter/marshmallow and mix well
- Add rice cereal to butter/marshmallow/cider mix and stir until evenly coated
- Using a spatula press the mixture into a pan (pick your size based upon desired thickness/shape)
- Pour melted caramels evenly over top of pressed treats
The only thing we haven’t worked out is the inclusion of real apples. I have thought about chopping apples and mixing them in with the cereal, but I’m afraid they might brown to the point that they are no longer appetizing. The other option would be to place slices of apples across the top, but again the browning comes into question. Obviously we can prevent browning by dipping the apples in lemon juice, but I don’t know what that would do to the flavor of the treats. The kids love discussing stuff like this and putting it to the test. It looks like we’ll be spending more time in the kitchen!
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
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