Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rice Krispies Tiffins

When I was in Ireland a few weeks ago, I fell in love about a dozen times over the course of the trip — with the landscape, with books, with one or two of the Irish boys I met. Of course, I also fell in love with a dessert: specifically, the simple, delectable Tiffin slice: a baked bar of shortbread, caramel, and chocolate. I tasted several of these while I was there, and though they may be on par with a brownie or a blondie in America, to me, they were just exotic enough to declare them a grand “discovery.”

I hadn’t thought about the Tiffin slice in days (with my birthday this past weekend, I’ve recently been seduced by the more local treats of cupcakes and chocolates), but then I was wondering what my next dessert would be. With the Fourth of July approaching, I wanted to do something fun and light-hearted, but without decorating a cake as a flag or cutting out star-shaped sugar cookies. Although I have no barbeque plans, my mind jumped to typical picnic desserts, and with a display of marshmallows in the supermarket, I decided that it has been much too long since I’ve made Rice Krispies Treats. Right up there with apple pie and S’mores, these easy bar desserts are, in my opinion, another staple of American family cuisine. What kid didn’t sample these growing up, at picnics or birthday parties or school bake sales?

And even though their straightforwardness is a major aspect of their appeal, I felt the need to dress these up a little for the holiday weekend. Enter the Tiffin slice: caramel and chocolate rarely, if ever, detract from the quality of a baked good, and so it seemed clear that the Rice Krispies Treats would only benefit from these additions.

I almost wish I could bring these to a bbq, or maybe start my own impromptu bake sale in the park with a tray of these treats: they just look too good not to be on display.

Rice Krispies Tiffin Treats


3 tbsp. margarine or butter
1 (10 oz.) package regular marshmallows - or -4cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies® cereal
1 (8 oz.) jar caramel ice cream topping
3 cups milk chocolate chips


1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Place the tray in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to cool.
2. Once the Rice Krispies treats are cool, warm the caramel topping in a small saucepan over low heat until the consistency is smooth and spreadable. At the same time, place 1 cup chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir to completely melt chips. Repeat for the next 2 cups. Or, melt chocolate over the stove in a double boiler.
3. Spread the warmed caramel topping over the cooled Rice Krispies so that the treats are covered with a thin layer. Then, spread the milk chocolate over the caramel for a slightly thicker layer.
4. Decorate with candies, nuts, or other toppings.

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