Tag Archives: rice krispies

Four Bite Sized Desserts for the Fourth

4 Jul

Fourth of July is one of the most beloved American holidays because not only does it celebrate America’s hard-won freedom, it also gives Americans a great deal of freedom as to how they want to celebrate. While a BBQ and fireworks are traditional, there is no necessity to do anything other than have a good time. You don’t have to buy gifts, spend lots of money, or go through the stress of planning the perfect holiday meal. Fireworks are free, the beach is open to everyone, and barbecuing is way easier than planning a sit-down dinner party. The Fourth of July is an excuse simply to hang out and have a good time.

And what could be a better complement to your BBQ than a few homemade American desserts. Instead of getting super elaborate with the sweets, keep it easy with rice krispies, lemon bars, s’mores, or brownies. In bite-sized squares, these treats are easy to pick up and nibble on at any point of your 4th of July celebration.

I chose to update these American classics a bit with Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats, Light and Tangy Lemon Bars, S’mores Cups, and Chewy, Chocolate-Studded Brownies. When I made these desserts for a casual get-together with friends a few weeks ago, the s’mores bites and lemon bars were both HUGE hits.

Just a secret between you and me…these desserts are all a bit healthier than most treats, so you can indulge without feeling guilty. These desserts each take less than an hour to whip up, so make all four or just stick with one of two.

This year we are having a BBQ and outdoor screening of Independence Day for some of our friends and just keeping it simple and relaxed. What are you doing to celebrate?

Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Adapted from Krissy’s Creations

Serves 16 (to make 24 treats, I  made mine in a 9 by 13 inch pan and multiplied all ingredients by 1.5)

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla bean extract)
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
 Directions
  1. Butter the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Continue to cook until the butter has turned a golden brown color, about 7 minutes.
  3. Place a mesh strainer over a large saucepan and pour the browned butter through the strainer to remove any little black dots (the slightly burned pieces). Place the large saucepan over low heat and add the marshmallows and salt.  Stir occasionally until the marshmallows are completely melted and smooth, then mix in the vanilla. Make sure not to keep the marshmallow mixture over the heat for too long otherwise your rice krispy treats will turn out hard and crunchy instead of soft and chewy.
  4. Add the cereal to the marshmallows and stir until the cereal is completely coated with the melted marshmallows.Remove from the heat and stir a few more times to make sure the cereal is evenly coated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let it cool slightly for 2-3 minutes, then use a rubber spatula to press it down into the pan.
  6. Let the treats cool in the pan on counter until completely cooled and hardened, about 2 hours.  Do not refrigerate them in an attempt to speed up the cooling process, as this too will make your rice krispies undesirably hard.
  7. Cut into 16 squares, and serve!

Light and Tangy Lemon Bars

Adapted from Shape Magazine

Serves 16

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 chunks

Filling

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Additional powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. To make the shortbread, in the bowl of a mixmaster, mix the almond meal, flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter and beat until no large chunks remain and mixture is loose and sandy.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and press firmly into base and edges until even. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Finely zest lemons (about 2 teaspoons) and one lime (about 1 teaspoon) into bowl. Squeeze 1/3 cup juice from lemons and 1/4 cup juice two tablespoons from two limes and add to bowl along with eggs; whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling over crust and return the dish to oven and bake for 30 to 32 minutes or until center is set.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Just before serving, cut the squares into 16 squares and sift powdered sugar over squares to garnish

S’mores Cups

Adapted from The Pampered Chef

Serves 24

Ingredients:

  • 8 graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 bars of chocolate, milk or dark
  • 12 large marshmallows (or 24 if you like very marshmallow filled s’mores)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a large plastic bag, and use a rolling pin to finely crush them.
  3. Using a spoon, combine the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin. Then evenly distribute the crumb mixture among the cups, placing about a tablespoon in each tin.
  5. Use your fingers to press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake the graham cracker crust for 4-5 minutes, or until edges are bubbling.
  6. Meanwhile, break the candy bars into 48 rectangles. Remove the pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.
  7. Cut marshmallows in half  crosswise (or use whole marshmallows if you like your s’mores really gooey) using kitchen shears. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 2-4 minutes depending upon how toasted you like your marshmallows.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and press the chocolate pieces into the top of each marshmallow and return for them to the oven for another 1-2 minutes so that the chocolate can start to soften a bit.

Chewy, Chocolate-Studded Brownies 

Adapted from First Look, Then Cook

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a straight edge. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and butter in the bowl of a double boiler until melted. Remove chocolate from the heat and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs into the chocolate mixture until combined.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the remaining cup of chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the brownies comes out almost clean.
  7. Allow the brownies to cool over e baking rack then cut into 16 squares.
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Cleaning Out the Pantry with Peanut Butter M&M Rice Krispy Treats

17 Apr

I know that I just posted about rice krispy treats a few days ago, but they are so simple to make that it inspired me to whip up another batch. I wanted to make artistic rice crispy treats to go along with my art history presentation to make the 13-straight days of presentations less boring, and I decided that as long as I included colorful m&ms, that these would fit the bill.

I had a 3/4 full bag of marshmallows, a nearly empty jar of peanut butter, left over Easter m&ms. To eliminate all of these baking odds and ends in one swoop, I decided to do a variation on my favorite snack. When the sugar pangs strike and we are out of candy, I always throw a few mini marshmallows, some peanut butter, and a few chocolate chips in the microwave for 12 seconds (this really is the perfect amount of time). Hence the inspiration for this delicious treat.

Peanut butter+butter+marshmallows

Peanut butter+butter+marshmallows

Stir until smooth

Add in cereal like usual

Think of these treats as fluffernutters with Rice Krispy cereal instead of bread and with m&ms added. Hungry yet?

Peanut Butter M&M Rice Crispy Treats

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 cups of mini marshmallows or a bag of large marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 5 cups Rice Krispy cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups M&M’s (or equal parts m&ms and chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Butter a 9×13 pan and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan over low heat until melted, then stir in the peanut butter and stir until combined. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir them until fully melted.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies. Once the cereal is fully mixed in, stir in one cup of the m&ms.
  4. Use a buttered spatula to evenly press the mixture into the buttered pan. Press the remaining m&ms into the top of the rice krispies.
  5. Allow the rice krispy treats to cool for bout 20 minutes, then cut them into bars. Bon appetit!

Lets Play Ball….With Some Rice Krispy Treats That Is!

14 Apr

The best way to judge the character of a friend or boyfriend is by how they treat your family. Anyone can be nice to you, but it takes someone really wonderful to be good to your entire family. That is how you can tell that he or she is in it for the long haul. After the initial honeymoon phase wares off, it is the person who will hold your hand at family functions and help your family out in times of need that you truly want to be with. If someone bothers to invest him or herself in your family, it proves that he or she is really thinking in terms of the future.

Whether it means taking care of your younger siblings from time to time or spending time with your parent, a boy who cares about more than just getting close to you is one to hold on to.

Melt butter and marshmallows

Mix in cereal and press into the greased pan

I’m incredibly lucky that Goose gets along so well with my sisters and parents that he’s practically part of the family. He babysits with me, goes on trips with my family and I, plays fantasy football with my dad, and tonight he’s even taking my sisters and I to my sisters’ first Dodger game.

Cut out your baseball circles

Dip into white chocolate

Back around Oscar season, when Goose and I were babysitting my little sisters, we made these Baseball Rice Krispy Treats that I thought would be perfect to share with you, as baseball season is now getting started. These are the perfect treat to serve at a baseball tailgate, a birthday party, or as a post-game snack for your little sluggers. What do you do to get into the spirit of baseball season?

Use red icing to draw on your stripes

Rice Krispy Treat Baseballs

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter plus more to grease the pan
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups Rice Krispy cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups good-quality white chocolate or white chocolate melting chips
  • red icing pen

Directions:

  1. Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once melted stir in the marshmallows, and stir constantly until fully melted.
  3. Remove marshmallow goop from heat and stir in cereal.
  4. Use a buttered spatula to scoop the rice crispies into the pan and press them down evenly.
  5. After the rice krispies are completely cooled, use a medium-sized circular cookie cutter to cut out your baseballs.
  6. Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler, and once it is completely melted, dip the circular rice krispy treats into the chocolate. Alternatively, you could spoon some of the white chocolate on top of the rice crispy, and then use the spoon to smooth it over the entire top.
  7. Once the chocolate has cooled, use your red icing to draw two small C’s facing the opposite sides, and then three stripes on each C to form the baseball stripes. Make sure not to place the stripes too close together, as the icing may spread a bit. Enjoy!

Best Picture-inspired Oscar Menu

22 Feb

While I chose not to watch the Super Bowl this year, I am excited, as always to watch Hollywood’s glamorous stars grace the red carpet at Sunday’s Academy Awards. Beautiful dresses, touching acceptance speeches, and getting to cheer for my favorite films all make the Oscars a night of excitement that I look forward to every year. It is a wonderful time to scout for prom dress inspiration, have a festive night in with the people you love, and to remember that even celebrities depend on their friends and families to achieve their success.

This year, along with standbys like popcorn and pizza, my family and I are cooking up an array of appetizers and desserts inspired by this year’s best picture nominees. I’ve been having tons of fun getting started in the kitchen with my amazing mom and little sisters, because although I stuck with mostly simple recipes, making nine dishes of any sort is always a challenge. The crab cakes, lollipops, and keys for the cupcakes can all be made in advance to lessen your kitchen time on Oscar weekend.

Here are my Best-Picture inspired recipes to jazz up any Oscar party!

Cookies and Cream Rice Krispy Treats from Cookies and Cups

  • Midnight in Paris: Chocolate Eiffel Tower Lollipops

    Follow these instructions to make chocolate lollipops using an Eiffel Tower mold, or any other oscar-related shape you choose. These make an adorable and affordable party favor too!