Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cashew Crunch Rice Krispie treats

Would you believe me if I said I forgot how great Rice Krispie treats are?

I'm not kidding, I swear!  And no, I don't have amnesia.

I just tend to get caught up in new and fanciful desserts.  Basically, shiny object syndrome with regards to sweets.  There isn't enough time or room in my stomach for all of my sugar-coated ideas!  Food blogger problems, right?

But seriously.  Rice Krispie treats are the best.  I admit they aren't typically the first thing that comes to mind when I'm brainstorming, though I can't for the life of me figure out why.

To a recent tailgate party, my good friend brought a tray of treats to share with everyone.  One bite and all of us were raving about how good those classic marshmallow squares really are.  "Man, I forgot how good these are!" we said.  (In case you were curious about the specific dialogue.)

After giving it some thought, I've decided that Rice Krispie treats are really the perfect dessert.

They're inexpensive and easy to make, ideal for even the greenest kitchen novice.

They're both crunchy and chewy, two of the most critical traits for a satisfying snack.

They're not chocolate... but can be.  There are two kinds of people: people who like chocolate and people who don't.  My husband happens to be one of the latter and will totally abstain from a dessert like chocolate cupcakes and brownies, settling for nothing at all.  That being said, small chocolate chips or chopped candies can be added and seem to be universally appealing, even to chocolate phobics.

They're infinitely adaptable!  This is probably my favorite thing about Rice Krispie treats.  Add whatever kind of mix-ins you like, top with frosting or melted chocolate, add spices like cinnamon or sprinkle on a little sea salt for a savory crunch.

I made these particular marshmallowy treats over the weekend, when I was craving something sweet and just a bit salty.  These are the ultimate crunchy dessert, thanks to the cashews and chopped Crunch chocolate bars (leftover from Halloween).  Sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt on top for panache.

These are the real deal and pack not one, not two, but three crunchy elements within a sweet and chewy marshmallowy web!  Thanks to the cereal, the nuts, and the officially crunchy Crunch bars, these hand-held treats are irresistable.  Just enough sweet to satisfy and light enough that you won't feel stuffed.  I can't speak to how you'll feel after you eat half of the tray, however...

Surely, no one will be forgetting how delicious Rice Krispie treats are anytime soon after devouring these.  I think the easy solution is clear: make Rice Krispie treats on a weekly basis.  How does that sound to you? :)

One year ago: Homemade instant hot chocolate mix
Two years ago: Caramel stuffed apple cider cookies
Three years ago: Classic meatballs
Four years ago: Cherry, almond & cinnamon granola

Cashew Crunch Rice Krispie Treats
-makes 24 squares

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces
1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows (I used mini, but regular size will do, too)
7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Heaping 1/2 cup salted cashews, coursely chopped
Heaping 1/2 cup chopped Nestle Crunch bars
Sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Lightly coat a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.  In a heat-safe glass bowl, melt butter by microwaving for 30-second intervals.  Add marshmallows, tossing with butter to coat evenly, and microwave for 1 minute.  Microwave for additional 30 second intervals, stirring between, until marshmallows are smooth and melted.

Remove bowl and add cereal to warm marshmallow mixture, folding to combine.  Once cereal is evenly coated and distributed, fold in cashews.  Finally, sprinkle in chopped Crunch bars and carefully fold into cereal mixture.  The less folding the better, as the chocolate will melt slightly.  Press into greased pan and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cutting.  Can be covered with plastic wrap and kept for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!

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