Puffed-rice cereal and melted marshmallows. Who knew such a simple recipe could be so delicious?
I wanted to see how other cereals tasted when compressed into chewy squares. Standing in front of the Big G® cereals at my grocery store, I was confronted by a multitude of choices. I was tempted to use Lucky Charms® (a cereal with marshmallows in it) but was afraid it would be too sweet.
Instead, the variety of Chex® cereals caught my eye. One of these would be an amazing marshmallow complement. I grabbed boxes of Corn, Rice and Honey Nut Chex®. I also picked up a jar of honey-roasted peanuts and a bag of Chex Mix®. I wanted to see if I could elevate the traditional chewy treat.
I whipped up three varieties of the treats. The simplest just used Corn Chex®. Next I picked out the Chex® in the bag of Chex Mix® and combined the salty cereal squares with Rice Chex®. Finally, I mixed together Honey Nut Chex® and honey-roasted peanuts.
I tasted all three recipes and was a little disappointed with my results. The plain Corn Chex® treats were my favorite, probably because I grew up snacking on Corn Chex® and always liked that flavor the best. Using some of the seasoned Chex® was a good idea in theory but failed in practice. The seasonings just clashed too much with the sweet marshmallows. Adding the peanuts to the Honey Nut Chex® disrupted the balance of flavors.
I also noticed something as I was cutting the treats into squares: there were too many crumbs. My ratio of cereal to marshmallows was off. Clearly, I had more work to do on my recipe.
Even though using Chex Mix® pieces didn’t really work, I still wanted to capture that salty-sweet combination. That’s when I though of kettle corn. I just needed to season the melted marshmallows directly with salt to get my desired flavor.
I opted for a combination of Corn and Rice Chex®. Corn Chex® reinforced that kettle corn taste and Rice Chex® was a familiar favorite. I increased the amount of marshmallows and baked another batch. This time: perfection!
The salty-sweet balance was just right, and my treats didn’t crumble. The chewy-crunchy balance was amazing, too.
This recipe is very sticky, of course, so it is much easier to make with a non-stick pot and a silicone spatula. Combine half a stick of butter and a 10-ounce bag of marshmallows in a pot over medium heat. When the marshmallows have started melting, add 1 teaspoon salt. Stir frequently and cook until all the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is homogeneous. Turn off the heat.
Add four cups each of Rice and Corn Chex®. Stir quickly to coat every cereal square with the sticky marshmallows. Press the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch pan and cool for 15 minutes.