Monday, October 31, 2011

Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

Happy Halloween!!

If you manage to keep your hands out of your kids' candy tonight, make this your reward :)  It's a slightly fancier version of rice krispy treats - with browned butter, vanilla bean, and pumpkin pie spices.  Ohhhhh, yesssss.  And we already know how much I love browned butter (this much and also this much).  The pumpkin pie spices in this recipe are optional, but they add a hint of warmth and Fall to the taste, so I highly recommend including them.

And while we're here, did you know that I'm awful at making rice krispy treats?  Seriously, every batch I make turns out hard as a rock or flavorless or both.  Except for this one, hurrah!  I got to comparing recipes from the back of the marshmallow bag, the cereal box, and a couple online.  It's amazing how much different the amounts of cereal are.  This recipe I'm posting for you calls for nearly half the cereal of the other recipes.  Half!  So it's no wonder that it turned out perfectly gooey and soft and definitely full of flavor.  After all the cakes and cheesecakes and cake pops and candies, I'm so excited to have finally conquered what everyone else can make blindfolded! :)

Trick Or Treat!

p.s.  Browned butter.  There's really nothing else I need to say about this!

Browned Butter Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats
a mish mash of recipes from
The Merry Gourmet and Cookies and Cups

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. cloves)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 10oz. bags marshmallows
9 c. crispy rice cereal

Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Add the butter to a large saucepan set over medium-low heat.  The butter will melt, then begin to bubble and foam. Eventually it will start to turn golden brown and smell nutty.  Be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly. Once the butter is browned, add the vanilla bean paste, the spices, and the salt.  Then add all of the marshmallows and stir the mixture constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted.

Remove from heat and add the cereal, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to coat the cereal evenly with the marshmallow mixture. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Note:  If you halve this recipe, use an 8x8" pan.

Ingredient Lineup:

 Stages of Butter:
Melted, and starting to foam:

Starting to bubble:

Browned, with bits:

Stirring in the spices, vanilla, and marshmallows:

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Your Guinea Pig: Fall Sweets Edition

image source
My back is still a pesky pain, so I wasn't able to make a second recipe for this week.  Sad face.  I'm hoping to whip up a bunch of things this weekend because there are at least three recipes I can't get out of my head - browned butter rice crispy treats, copycat Kind bars, and caramelized pears.  I've already tested out two of the recipes, so I'm really itching to make them again with my camera handy!!

Anyway, I thought I'd take a moment to discuss holiday treats with you all.  But not your typical bagged mini-sized chocolates.  Nope.  I'm talking about the lesser-loved varieties that come out this time of year.  And since I've got such a massive sweet tooth, I've obviously tried a bunch of these babies out for you.  (If I say I tried them out for you - for the greater good - I feel less guilty about my impulse purchases at 9pm on a Tuesday night at Walmart.)

Do you have any guilty pleasure treats during the Fall?  I want to hear about them!  Because maybe I'm missing out on something :)
Do Tell,

This is the first time I've seen Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows, so I'm guessing they're brand new this year.  I love the fun shapes, and they taste like pumpkin pie spice (not so much like actual pumpkin).  They'd be fun for decorating Halloween treats, but I can't say that I'll buy them again.

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Because I love the Gingerbread Marshmallows so much!  These also have a ginger and cinnamon spice flavor, but it's a little stronger than the Pumpkin variety.  Plus, the little man shapes are just too dang cute!  I'll admit to having drawn on mine and last year, I put them on sticks and dipped them in white chocolate.  So fun!!

I saw Candy Corn Kisses last year for the first time, and I immediately had to try them.  I'm part of the minority who actually likes candy corn flavor, but these actually aren't much like the original.  Maybe it's because they don't have that trademark weird flaky plastic texture? :)  They are a gussied-up vanilla in a white chocolate texture.  I really like these! 

So, of course, I tried the M&Ms Candy Corn too.  (It's all in the name of research, people!)  These have a flavor very similar to the Kisses, but with the M&Ms candy shell.  I can't say I enjoyed these much.  They were vaguely chemical-y in flavor because the vanilla was just too funky. 

If you absolutely hate Peeps, scroll on down.  I won't be offended, I promise.
Peeps Cocoa Cats and Cocoa Bats.  These are probably my favorite nontraditional Peep, because the cocoa flavor isn't overpowering, yet it adds a nice flavor.  Kinda like how chocolate soft serve ice cream isn't overly chocolate flavored, but it's still yummy. 

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Chocolate Covered Peeps.  At first, I was excited by these, but they're basically just chocolate over sticky marshmallow and don't taste anything at all like regular Peeps.  I wouldn't even call them Peeps at all.  They're more like the Russel Stover or Whitman's marshmallow treats you see this time of year.

Holiday Cookie Peeps are sometimes hard to find, but they're yummy.  Better than the Vanilla Peeps, these have a slight cinnamon/gingerbread flavor.  Kinda like the scent of a cookie candle, but in sugary marshmallow form :)

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Peppermint Peeps will clear out your sinuses.  Have you ever inhaled when you've got a strong mint in your mouth and it made your nose and throat really cold?  It's like that.  Great flavor, interesting experience.

THESE.  You must, must, must pick up a bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch chips before Christmas.  I bought some last year (see below), and Walmart ran out before I could pick up another bag.  They taste a bit like those Hickory Farms mints - a creamy white chocolate-peppermint chip with a nice little crunch to it.  I made my chocolate chip cookie recipe last year with these instead of chocolate chips, and they made my house smell amazinggg.  I bought two bags last night, so I'm hoping to branch out with how I use them.  Anyway, I Love These.

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But if you can't find the Andes chips, Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses are super similar.  I bought some two years ago and made that bag last months.  Seriously.  These are the closest to the Hickory Farms mints I grew up with, and they even have similar nonpareils inside to give them crunch.  As soon as they come out, you can bet I'll be grabbing these too.

Hershey's Cinnamon Baking Chips are another seasonal item, and these are probably the hardest to find.  I only found them in one store last year, but I don't understand why because they are so, so good.  The chips are creamy in texture (a bit like white chocolate) but taste like an explosion of cinnamon and brown sugar.  They are amazing in oatmeal cookies and folded into homemade bread.  I can't wait to get my hands on a few bags this year.

Full disclosure:
This is my hoard.  I'm still clinging to these remnants from last year.  Yes.  Last year!  It's embarrassing, but true.  I'll talk more about the tea soon.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

I'm head over heels in love with this recipe.  It's true.  This rice pudding is cozy and creamy and pumpkiny and (shhhh.. don't tell!) it's pretty darn healthy.  Instead of the standard white rice, it's made with brown rice, but you wouldn't know it.  The only hint of it is the slight chewiness, which I think makes for a fantastic texture.  It's got very little sugar, and lots of antioxidants from the pumpkin and spices.  

But, really, all you need to know is that it's just so cozy and delicious.

Cuddle Up With a Bowl,

Pumpkin Rice Pudding

adapted from 
Not Without Salt

1 c. brown rice, cooked according to pkg directions (or 3 1/2 c. cooked brown rice)
3 c. milk (dairy or unsweetened almond or soy)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla (omit if using vanilla-flavored milk)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cooked brown rice, milk, brown sugar, salt and spices. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Cook on low for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is creamy, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let sit 15 for minutes. Serve warm in a cute bowl. Can also be served cold, but is the coziest when warmed.  Makes 4 cups.

Ingredient Lineup:

Cozy and delicious.

And beautifully steamy.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Fun: Adorable Pie Carriers

It's 38 degrees outside.  My back has been in a ton of pain for six days now.  I'd really just like some pie for breakfast. 

Mom?  If you're reading this?  I'd like an apple pie, pretty please.


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