I am a lover of marshmallow cereal treats from way back. An elementary school bake sale was a total bust if my beloved Rice Krispie treats were not on offer. And even as an adult, when I see them displayed in a bakery case, they are always in the running for that which I might order (full disclosure: this is partly because the trend of late is to make the treats quite large, and I am nothing if not a fan of a huge dessert). So, you can imagine my utter delight when I discovered a recipe for such a sweet, calling for Kix Cereal — and in the shape of Christmas trees, no less — in one of my vintage recipe booklets (all of the recipes in my latest cookbook, "The Vintage Baker," were twisted and tweaked from my collection of old — fashioned recipe pamphlets).
I knew instantly that the recipe would be making its way into my cookbook, but decided to brown the butter, using my new favorite technique for doing so: the microwave, and added peanut butter to enhance the nuttiness of the butter and to counter the sweetness of the marshies. Red and green sparkling sugar is the perfect festive finish. Add these to your holiday cookie boxes for gifting or just make a bunch and have me over after school for a retro "bake sale" treat with a 21st century twist.
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1⁄2 cup creamy peanut butter (not all-natural)
- 6 cups Kix cereal or other puffed corn cereal
- 1⁄2 tsp table salt
- 3⁄4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Red and green sanding sugar for decorating
- Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- To brown the butter, place the butter in a large microwave- safe bowl and cover it with a microwave-safe plate. Heat on high power for 6 to 8 minutes, adding a minute or two, if necessary, until the butter has darkened and smells nutty.
- Combine the butter with the marshmallows and peanut butter in a large saucepan and cook over low to medium heat until melted.
- Add the Kix, salt, and vanilla and mix to combine. Remove from the heat and let sit until just cool enough to handle. Then, by the (small-ish) handful, quickly begin molding the cereal into cones, placing them on the prepared sheet. Grease your hands with nonstick cooking spray if the cereal is sticking to them. Sprinkle the cones with sanding sugar and sea salt.
- Alternatively, if you'd prefer a more traditional bar- shaped marshmallow-cereal treat, once removed from the heat, transfer the cereal-marshmallow mixture to a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan greased with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter, and press down with your hands or a spatula to flatten.
- Sprinkle with the sanding sugar and sea salt, let come to room temperature, and cut into 16 squares.
- The cones (or squares) will keep on the counter, tightly covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.