That title pretty much sums it up. We have received six inches of snow here in Pennsylvania, and I think Rice Krispies are the perfect way to celebrate the first day of spring while sitting inside under a blanket.
These Rice Krispies treats feature lots of chocolate in several forms alongside the token Rice Krispies and marshmallow. Actually, you could pretend that these are breakfast-y because most of the ingredients are considered as such. Several cereal types, pop-tarts…sounds healthy to me!
Have you ever wondered why rice puffed cereals make the perfect marshmallow treat? Or is that just me? All I know is that whenever I eat marshmallow treats with other cereals as the main structural component, I get disappointed. Often they are too dense or super dry.
Rice Krispies (and other rice puffed cereals) are oven puffed cereals. Basically that means that rice is pressure cooked with water, sugar, some flavoring, and salt. The cooked rice grains are gently dried to a slightly lower moisture content.
At that point, rice grains are moved from the drier through an intermediary step. The grains are flattened slightly with large rollers creating cracks, a process called bumping, which serves to aid in puffing later. After cooking, drying, and bumping, the rice grains are dried further to a moisture content of around 10%. This moisture content is determined to be the ideal for the puffing process.
From there, the rice is passed through an extremely hot rotating oven (around 550-650⁰) for about 90 seconds. This is where the puffing occurs. The small amount of water left in the rice evaporates extremely quickly at such high temperatures. The cracks created earlier from bumping allows easier exit points for the steam. The rapid escape of the steam causes the already cooked rice starch to puff up.
That Snap! Crackle! Pop! sound comes from the delicate rice structure collapsing when they come into contact with milk.
The rice puffed cereals work great for marshmallow treats for two reasons. First, the cereal is really light because of the extremely high amount of air on the inside. That means that they can be easily dispersed throughout the marshmallow. The airiness also keeps the cereal from being weighed down by the marshmallow coating. That keeps the bar from becoming too dense.
The second reason is that the cereal has ideal surface area to volume ratio. I won’t go into the boring details, but basically that means that you get maximum marshmallow coverage for each cereal piece. Think about a cocoa puff or a fruit loop. When you cover it in marshmallow, there is a ton of cereal on the inside with no contact to marshmallow. Rice Krispies is like a cereal that is full of air with all of its material in contact with marshmallow. Perfect!
There aren’t many cereals that meet these ideal requirements, but add-ins can make them more flavorful. Here, I have added small chocolate flakes (Cocoa Pebbles) to the puffed rice to add some flavor while keeping excellent marshmallow coverage. For funsies, I added fudge Pop Tart pieces (because duh, why not?) as well as Sixlets for some crunch. Spoon Fork Bacon recently worked with savory Rice Krispies Treats that look amazing if that’s more your style. Otherwise, let’s trash this space up!
Small Batch Trashed Up Rice Krispies
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup mini marshmallows slightly heaped (about 2 oz) (increase to 3 oz if you want fall-apart gooey treats)
¾ cup Rice Krispies
¼ cup Cocoa Pebbles
2 Tablespoons Sixlets
1 Chocolate fudge Pop Tart toaster pastry, broken into small pieces
1. Mix together the cereals, Sixlets, and Pop Tart pieces in a bowl. Set aside. Grease a small loaf pan (about 5×3”). Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. (Brown the butter if you want to add a nutty flavor to the bars)
3. Once melted, add the marshmallows and mix constantly until they are completely melted. You can do these two heat steps in the microwaves, but it is much easier to overheat the marshmallows that way.
4. Working quickly, pour the cereal mix into the melted marshmallow and mix completely.
5. Pour into the loaf pan and flatten either with a greased spatula or wax paper. Let cool, and serve.
Some processing information from Kellogg’s and How Stuff Works