In my small circle of family, friends, and acquaintances, it’s hard to think of any single person who says that they don’t like Rice Krispy Squares. Maybe it’s the same for your circle…
These darn things have been around for a while. When I was growing up, they were a real treat when they were made by Mom. When you see them, or make them from time to time, they have that same kind of initial “fresh-out-of-the-oven-chocolate-chip-cookies” type of appeal that has nothing to do with taste. If warm nostalgic feelings can’t be considered a component of what comfort foods are based on, then I don’t know what would be.
When Michele and I are cooking we like to see what impact last minute inspirations or ingredient twists would have on whatever we were preparing. We’re rarely disappointed, and sometimes more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Such is the case with the recipe below. Michele was inspired by some leftover frozen candy “bits” and all she had to make rice krispy squares with was chocolate flavored puffed rice cereal. The end result was a wonderful surprise and in somewhat constant demand around here…
Michele’s Toffee Bits Cocoa Treats
3 TBSPS of butter, or margarine
1 10 oz. package of regular marshmallows (or 4 cups of minis)
6 cups of chocolate flavored puffed-rice cereal
Some chocolate covered English Toffee candy bar “bits”*
*This is what really makes this recipe a treat! They can be found in most supermarkets, in the same section in the “Baking” aisle where they keep the chocolate chips. The quantity of how much you mix in is entirely up to you. Don’t be too frugal here. The last batch that Michele made had ¾ of a bag of these bits mixed in. There is a textural issue here too that is a lot of fun. When you get done chewing up some of the cereal and marshmallows, you start to come across some of those little nuggets of chocolate covered toffee candy…oh my!
Melt the butter or margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove the sauce pan from the heat. Mix in the cereal and candy bits and stir well until everything is consistently distributed and well coated. Spread the mixture evenly into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan that has been lightly greased with butter, margarine, or cooking spray. It will be a little warm and a little sticky, so you can smooth out and work your mixture with a buttered (or sprayed) spatula, or with waxed paper. It holds up pretty well to being compacted and manipulated to whatever is your preferred density. After it has cooled you can cut it into whatever sized squares you would like to serve and eat. They have a tendency to be cut fairly big in our house.
As I’m sure aware by now that I like to suggest variations for most of the recipes on this blog, here’s just a handful of suggestions for these treats. You are truly limited only by your imagination here; create your own family tradition!
- I would be tempted to add about a ½ cup of smooth peanut butter into the melted marshmallow mix, stirring well to combine, before I add the cereal and candy
- No marshmallows? In a pinch a regular sized jar (8-10 ozs.) of marshmallow cream, like Fluf, can be substituted
- Different flavored candy bits, bought or made or crushed…red and white hard candy mints at Christmas time, gumdrops that have had a knife run through them for a rough chop and then lightly dusted with powered sugar to help keep them separated for stirring in. Mini sized jellybeans? What about chocolate chips or minis, peanut butter or butterscotch flavored morsels?
- Cereal is OK to eat if it’s in a dessert treat right? It’s got to be better for me than eating, like, a regular toll-house cookie, right? Right!? Ok, so go the other way. What about stirring peanuts, or almond slivers, or dried cranberries or raisins, or any other kind of dried fruit like pineapple or mango? Sunflower seeds? You get the picture.
Have fun with this. They are a safe bet to disappear soon after you have made them. At least they are around here. Enjoy!
…way back when (back in the day), I would occasionally hang out with my older brother and his friends and play some old-school Dungeons & Dragons in his rented and shared house on the East Side of Buffalo, NY. When everybody got hungry, we would often send out for some Chinese food from this place called “Noodle King”. They served a dish called “Cold Sesame Noodles” and, of course, you could get it with Pork, Chicken, or Shrimp. The noodles were probably lo-mein noodles and they weren’t like they just came out of the refrigerator, but they were not heated, either. They came coated with a (most awesome) peanut sauce that was delicious! For years since, I have been playing with different combinations and have yet to perfect it. This versatile sauce below is a by-product of all of that experimentation. It’s close…
3/2/1 Peanut/Satay Sauce
I use a soup-sized spoon for my “TBSP” in this recipe, and I measure liberally. Don’t fuss with exact measurements, it’s pretty foolproof…toss with some hot spaghetti-like noodles, Asian or domestic, it does not matter. There will then be an opportunity to top these coated noodles with some teriyaki fried pieces of chicken breast, if you’d like. Thin the sauce with some sweet coconut milk and you’ll have a wonderful Satay sauce for dipping Asian prepared meats in; or incorporating into fried rice dishes.
I only use one kind of teriyaki sauce and it is a funky Yiddish (yes, Yiddish) company called Soy-Vay. It’s found in most stores in the Asian section, with a blue and white label on a glass bottle. It’s dark and thick and sweet and savory at the same time and it has sesame seeds floating in it. Try to find it if you can, it’s worth it… (Shake well)…
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add:
3 TBSP Peanut Butter (Chunky is OK if you want the peanut bits in your sauce)
3 TBSP Teriyaki Sauce
3 TBSP Soy Sauce (I like the low-sodium kind)
3 TBSP Dark Sesame Oil
2 TBSP Sugar or Honey
2 TBSP Coarse Garlic (I typically use the California Blend type, dried mixed with parsley)
1 TBSP good quality vegatble oil
1 TBSP hot sauce (optional item/optional quantity)
Mix all ingredients well with a wire whisk, set aside and let it sit for about 20 minutes (or until the sugar is dissolved and the garlic has absorbed some moisture) and whisk again for a final incorporation.
IMPORTANT: this should be considered a base recipe that is extremely flexible. If it’s not “peanutty” enough, add more peanut butter, if you like the taste and smell of sesame oil, add some more; you can’t hurt this sauce…Have fun and enjoy!