So here’s a little fun fact for you, Rice Krispies Treats were invented in 1939. How crazy is that?! By Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day from the Kellogg Company. Of course women were behind this. Also, side note, this blog post should probably be called something like Chocolate Dipped Heart Shaped Crisp Rice Treats so I don’t get sued for trademark violation, but I’m feeling a little dangerous today. Let’s live on the edge and see what happens, shall we? Also 3 letters for you: SEO. If I list a recipe name that is off the beaten path, no one will ever be able to find it. Ya dig? Here’s another little fun fact for you, this Valentine’s Day will be my 5-Year Blogaversary! I know, can you believe it! 5 whole years that I’ve been coming atcha’ with clean treats. It’s been one crazy ride, but I’ve loved it! Does that mean I should start thinking about cookbook number 2? Maybe…
I keep going back and forth. Like one second I’m like, “Everyone! I’m writing another book!” and then the next second I’m like, “Oh God, please no, let’s push this off for another year in hopes that I’ve decided to stop baking entirely and writing another book would be completely ridiculous and totally out of the question.” Don’t get me wrong, I love baking, food styling, food photography, and writing. It’s just the editing, deadlines, stress, and general life-taking-over that I don’t love so much. So it’s hard to decide and even harder to commit. It is fun working on a project and having a destination in mind, but at the same time it takes so much out of you. I guess I’m still deciding, but leaning more towards, Yes. Maybe. Just kidding.
So let’s talk Rice Krispies Treats for a sec, I mean crisped rice treats or whatever. Generally they are not gluten-free, Kelloggs uses malt flavoring as an ingredient in Rice Krispies cereal. At one point they sold a gluten-free version of the cereal, but it didn’t sell well enough for them to justify the cost of making it and trying to market it so they discontinued it. Lame. Lucky for us though all the health food stores now carry gluten-free versions made by various brands. I found several brands with clean ingredients too. So many in fact that I was like, oh crap, which ones do I buy (insert immediate panic in the cereal aisle). I ended up having to make this recipe twice since the first version failed (more on that in a bit) so I got to try two different brands and now have what I feel is the best one.
The other not so fantastic thing about traditional Rice Krispies Treats is the marshmallow aspect. The ingredients in the recommended Jet-Puffed Marshmallows scared the bejesus out of me. Are you ever shopping and you look at the ingredients on something and then you actually drop it in the aisle because your mind is having a hard time comprehending what it just saw? Identical me in the marshmallow aisle. Here are the ingredients in Jet-Puffed marshmallows: CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, DEXTROSE, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF GELATIN, TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE (WHIPPING AID), NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, BLUE 1. Oh no. (Phoebe from Friends voice). After I picked up the dropped marshmallows off the shiny linoleum floor, I pondered, how could I make these cleaner? What if I used homemade marshmallow cream? Hmm..(insert thinking face emoji)
And that’s exactly what I tried. I made the marshmallow creme from my cookbook, the one that is the gelatin based version and patiently waited while they cooled to see what the results would be. It was a no go people, a total failure. Apparently there was too much moisture or something because they came out super soft and tasted like stale Rice Krispies Treats. You know what I’m talking about. The ones that have been on your kitchen counter for a week, where you think, I wonder if these are still good and then you take a big fat bite and they’ve gone all soft and taste like weird stale rice lint or something. Bummer. First batch was not a success.
Then I got to thinking…if they make and sell cleaner crisped rice cereal in health food stores, maybe they sell better marshmallows too? So I went to Whole Foods first and checked it out. What do you know, they do sell better versions! So here’s the thing, don’t get mad. They aren’t probably as clean as you or I would want them to be, but they are a better option in my opinion. I used the Elyon Mini Marshmallows, the ingredients in these are: Sugar, Corn or Tapioca Syrup, Water, Kosher Fish Gelatin, Corn or Tapioca Starch, Natural Vanilla Flavors. You could also use Dandies Mini Marshmallows if you need something grain-free, the ingredients in these are: Tapioca Syrup, Cane Sugar, Tapioca Starch and/or Potato Starch, Water, Carrageenan, Soy Protein, Natural Vanilla Flavor. So are they the best ingredients on planet earth? No, but they are better. And sometimes you just need a legit tasting, non-stale, gluten-free, Rice Krispies Treat dammit! So I grabbed 2 bags of these mini mallows hoping they would do the trick and taste like the real deal. Spoiler alert: THEY DID!
If you know anything about me and my baking, I have to take it up a notch. I can’t just do any ole REGULAR Rice Krispies Treats, no way man. So I took these up a serious notch. These are made using browned butter, salt, and vanilla. Yep, that’s right. And I got the amounts so perfect that you get a little bit of every flavor in each bite! The browned butter was a game changer. I’ll never make Rice Krispies Treats with regular old butter again, nope, not going to do it. This is the way of all ways to make your Rice Krispies Treats out of this world incredible.
Then I had to make them heart-shaped, dip them in chocolate, and dazzle them with sprinkles, because, Valentine’s Day! Could you skip this part? Totes. You could just cut them into squares and call it a day, I wouldn’t blame you at all! They taste just as good. My mouth is watering and I want to make another batch immeeds. They were so quick and easy to make too, it seriously took maybe 10 minutes. So this is a great dessert if you need something on the go.
Okay so now that we’re all done with that, what’s new with you? I’m going to do a 100 Day Challenge with some friends and I’m getting pretty excited about it. It starts March 1st, so it’s coming in HOT! I have a competitive nature (it’s why I had to quit CrossFit, hmm should I write a blog post about that sometime?) and I love competing. So what are the rules of “the challenge” you ask? Well it’s funny because it’s totally different for everyone! Some people want to lose weight, some want to be more active, some want to quit drinking, some want to quit smoking. It’s basically a health challenge. We have 5 people and each person has to ante up $100 to join. The winner, or the person to keep to their health goal commitments, takes the $500 pot. If there are multiple winners (which we hope there are!) then they split the prize money evenly. The only thing that ALL of us are doing together is we’ve committed to at least 30 minutes of activity per day. This can be ANYTHING active, yoga, HIIT, running, cycling, walking, hiking, snowboarding, kayaking, what have you, as long as you are doing something active for you body, even if that activity is very low impact. It’s just meant to create and form a healthy habit to move.
So we are creating a private Facebook group where we will post our activity daily, using a fitness tracker or app, and screen shot that to the group. Then track that daily on a spreadsheet. You know things are serious when there’s a spreadsheet involved. For those looking to lose weight they can send their food diaries over if they choose, to help keep them accountable. For those looking to quit drinking or smoking (I know, can you believe people still smoke?!) they are on the honor system, since there really would be no way to quantify that through a screen shot. Maybe there is an app they can do that keeps track? Anyway that’s basically the gist of it. I’m in the group that wants to lose weight and quit drinking. The holidays got me good this year and I just want to feel good in my body again. Wearing my jeans without a muffin top would be ideal. So for the next 100 days I’ve decided to try a Keto approach along with 16:8 intermittent fasting, no alcohol, and 30 minutes of activity per day. I’ve been pre-gaming if you will, for the month of February, to see if this is really something I can commit to for 100 days. I mean that’s pretty much 3 months with no sweets and I don’t want to set myself up for failure. The first week so far has gone great. Minus the no drinking part. I guess I’m waiting until March 1st to give that up. See my blog post about drinking and I think you’ll see why it’s such a struggle right now.
The Keto Diet has been good so far. I eat relatively low-carb on a daily basis anyway, usually under 100g a day, just because I know that works well for me. While I’ve been on Keto I’ve been trying to stay under 30g a day, usually averaging around 25-27. I haven’t done any crazy HIIT exercising yet like I normally do because I want my body to adapt first, in hopes that it won’t feel like torture when I do get some HIIT in eventually. So for now I’ve just been going on steady state cardio runs, and doing weight lifting.
I also decided to take “before” pictures (in the hopes I have measurable “after” pictures) along with full body measurements. Ugh. How depressing. I just keep thinking about all the GF cinnamon rolls and moscow mules I had over the holidays. I YOLO’d hard people. What was I to do?! Not enjoy the holidays?! Not in my world. So anyway I’ll keep you posted and let you know how the challenge goes and when I win. Ha!
So there you have it folks! Cleaner Chocolate Dipped Heart Rice Krispies Treats. Covered in sprinkles and magic. Please don’t hate me for not being able to find a super clean way to make these for you. I would have to toy with some homemade marshmallow recipes for awhile to find one, if I could find one at all, and by then Valentine’s Day would be long gone. I did what I could and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I’m telling you browned butter could rule the world. Also be sure you set aside the 1 cup of mini marshmallows to mix in at the end. It creates these fluffy marshmallow cloud poofs of heaven in the middle of each treat, it’s soooo good!
Here are the cleaner ingredients that I used for this recipe:
- Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
- Elyon Mini Marshmallows or Dandies Mini Marshmallows (grain-free) Whole Foods carries both of these brands.
- One Degree Organic Foods Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps Cereal
- Guittard 63% Dark Chocolate.
- I used generic sprinkles from the grocery store (tisk tisk)
- I used a metal heart shaped cookie cutter.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
- 8 tablespoons (114g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 packages (14 oz./ 396 g) mini marshmallows, 1 cup set aside
- 6 cups (8 oz./227 g) gluten-free rice crisp cereal
- 1 bag (11.5 oz./326g) dark chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- colored sprinkles for garnish
- Add the butter to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan (3.5qt./3.3L) and cook over medium-low heat. Stir intermittently using a rubber spatula. As the butter melts it will start to bubble and foam. As the butter continues to brown, the color will turn from lemon yellow to amber and go from a loud bubble to quiet simmer. When the butter is ready, brown specks will have formed at the bottom of the pan and some will start rise in the foam. The butter will also have a very pleasant nutty aroma. While butter is browning line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, foil seems to stick. Set aside an additional piece of parchment paper to place the finished treats on. Transfer the rice crisp cereal to an extra large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Once the butter has browned, add the vanilla, and salt to the pan. Then add all of the marshmallows except for the 1 cup that’s been reserved. Use a rubber spatula to stir the ingredients together until combined. Remove from heat. Using the rubber spatula transfer the marshmallow mixture to the cereal bowl, then add the remaining 1 cup of marshmallows. Stir everything together until combined.
- Transfer the cereal mixture to the pan lined with parchment paper. Use the spatula to spread and press the cereal mixture into place evenly across the pan. It may also help to use wet hands to push the mixture into the pan. Let cool for 30 minutes or until hardened.
- Once the cereal treats are cooled, lift the parchment from the pan and cut the treats into heart shapes using a 3″ metal heart shaped cookie cutter. Alternate between cutting right-side up on one row and upside down on the next row to maximize space. To get a very clean cut, trace a knife around the cookie cutter a few times. Peel back the parchment paper underneath and remove the treat from the pan. Press the treat through one side of the cookie cutter to remove and set it on the other piece of parchment paper.
- Once all the treats have been cut, prepare the dipping chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a large heat-proof glass or metal mixing bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir intermittently, using a rubber spatula, until the chocolate and coconut oil are completely melted and combined.
- Dip half of each treat into the melted chocolate, place back on the parchment paper and garnish with sprinkles. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- These taste just as great without the chocolate and cut in to traditional squares!