Saturday, August 27, 2011

Caramel Krispies

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. If you've known me for long, you've probably had these at one point or another. And if you haven't, well, you probably will soon. :-)
It's a really simple recipe, but the trick is to get everything ready before starting. I don't know how many times I've started the recipe, only to rush around trying to finish before the marshmallow mixture hardens too much - although the only time this has ever turned out less than fabulous is the time I burnt the caramels.
So speaking of caramels, I start by unwrapping all the little ones. Apparently you can purchase sheets of caramel around the holidays, but I personally have never seen them. So I just set up shop and enlist the help of my husband and daughter and make them swear on their lives that they won't eat any in the process. (Ok, so I'm not that cruel. They can each have one.)
Next comes the marshmallow mixture - just like when making Rice Krispy treats, you melt the butter and marshmallows together. Since I use butter instead of margarine, I pre-melt the butter a little bit. Otherwise the marshmallows melt faster and you're left with a clump of butter. Easily fixed by stirring a little longer, but I like getting the cereal mixed into the marshmallows as soon as they're melted to give myself enough time to put it all together.
While the marshmallows are in the microwave, I go ahead and start the caramels, butter and sweetened condensed milk (YUM) melting together on the stove. On medium-low heat. Very important not to rush this process, especially if you're letting it go without stirring while you're working with the marshmallow mixture. The bars are NOT tasty if the caramel gets burnt; I know from experience.
My least favorite part is spreading the marshmallow/cereal mixture into the pan. I always forget what works best to spread it out without it all becoming a sticky mess. So I'm going to write it down, so now you know and I can look back and remember: baking oil spray on the back of a large spoon. Not waxed paper, not your hand (both of which I tried this morning with no success).
More marshmallows on top. Then when the caramel mixture is smooth and melted, pour it on top. It's actually important to make sure that the caramels are completely melted, because if any pieces are left, you're going to chew and chew and chew when you eat the bars.
Dollops of the cereal mixture on top, and you're all ready to go! Mmm, I wonder how I'm going to wait until tomorrow night to dive into them?

Caramel Krispies
adapted from Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church Cookbook

8 cups Rice Krispies
3/4 cup butter
2 packages caramels
2 packages miniature marshmallows
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Melt 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 packages marshamllows. Pour over cereal, mix and press 3/4 of mixture into bottom of jelly roll pan. Sprinkle on the rest of the marshmallows. Melt together 1/4 cup butter, caramels and milk. Pour over marshmallows. Make pats with remaining cereal mixture and put on top.

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