Cocoa Rice Krispies Football Treats

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A few days ago, I made mention that I’m a football fan. A pretty hardcore one at that. I am a hometown gal, Go Houston Texans!! Tony and I try to go to as many home games as we can, we live for the atmosphere. While we are there, we usually pick up a souvenir cup and a snack/lunch. It’s kind of a tradition.

When we watch the games at home snacks aren’t usually a MUST, we aren’t big TV snackers.

But since we were going to the in-laws’ house to watch the game, I found it fitting to bring a little football snack. Literally: little football snacks.

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These adorable little footballs are basically chocolate rice krispie treats with a bit of peanut butter and some melted white chocolate for the stitching. They are super simple to make, just a few more steps than traditional rice krispie treats. But totally worth it for the adorableness, WOW factor and most importantly… the taste!

I must confess that for not being a TV snacker, I ate way too any of these. As did everyone else. These were a big hit. Tony came back into the bedroom at 7am (before leaving for work) just to tell me that they looked pretty awesome!

And before you ask: yes, I have Texans tupperware!

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Cocoa Rice Krispies Football Treats
Makes 16 footballs

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz) regular marshmallows – OR – 4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 cups chocolate flavored crisped rice cereal (such as Cocoa Rice Krispies®)
white chocolate, for decorating

Stove top Instructions:

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter until melted.
Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
Cool slightly. Using buttered hands shape mixture into sixteen 3-inch footballs.
Melt white chocolate, pour into a piping bag (or Ziplock baggie) and snip off a tiny hole at the tip and pipe on the stitches. Best if served the same day.

Microwave Instructions:

In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Add peanut butter, stirring until melted.
Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Notes:
For best results, use fresh marshmallows.

Store at room temperature in airtight container. To freeze, place in single layer on wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

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Let’s Go Texaaaaaaaaans!!!!

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S’mores Brownie Bars

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You know how some people can’t live without food and water? Or say… air? Me, I can’t live without brownies and s’mores in my life. Seriously. I have a problem.

I have tried a bagillion different brownie recipes. Not to find the perfect one, but to enjoy all the tiny differences each recipe has to offer. As for s’mores, I think I have tried s’mores anything: cereal, granola bars, brownies, cookies, plain old campfire s’mores and even microwave s’mores. S’mores are love. Try not to smile when sitting in front of a roaring fire, wrapped in blankets, with your sister sticking skewered marshmallows into the fire then squashing the gooey, half burnt marshmallow between some chocolate and graham crackers. It really is the epitome of happiness.

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But when it’s 9 million degrees here in Houston (for the umpteenth day straight) it’s just not reasonable to get a roaring fire going to enjoy some yummy s’mores.

Enter these bars. You get the crunch of the graham cracker in the form of a buttery graham cracker crust (which is great because it won’t get soggy while baking), your dose of chocolate comes in the form of a fudgy brownie and topped off with fluffy, melty marshmallows.

S’mores heaven in a bar.

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S’mores Brownie Bars
Adapted from Alice Medrich, as seen here

Yields 16 servings (depending how large you cut the bars)

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
2 tablespoons sugar

For the brownie layer:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the topping:
20 large marshmallows; cut in half

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch-square metal baking pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Allow crust to cool on wire rack.

3. Turn the oven temperature up to 400 degrees F.

4. In a large microwave safe bowl on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together in 30 second intervals, stirring every 15-30 seconds until chocolate is almost completely melted, then stir until smooth.

5. Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in eggs one at a time until well combined. Then add flour. Stir until very smooth, about 1 minute, until mixture pulls away from sides of bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 18 minutes.

6. Let cool completely, then lift out using the foil and place brownies onto a broiler safe pan (I used the same brownie pan once everything was cooled). Move your oven rack about 6 inches from your broiler and preheat your broiler to low.

7. Layer marshmallows (sticky side down) across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (watch this like you have never watched anything before…it can burn QUICK), about 2 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Happy National S’mores Day!! Enjoy!!

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Day 20: Homemade Marshmallows

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I. Love. S’mores. I really do. They make me feel like a kid, a kid on a camping trip.

I’ve never been on a camping trip so s’mores are the closest thing to camping as I get.

Know what makes s’mores even better? Homemade marshmallows!!

Plus, wrap em up in some adorable baggies and give them as gifts with homemade hot cocoa mix and you have a FAB gift. And you might even be greeted with the same reactions that I’ve been greeted with which include, but are not limited to:

“You can make MARSHMALLOWS?!?”

“These are like fluffy little clouds!”

“Ok, you can make marshmallows… you REALLY need to open up your own shop”

“…wait… you can make MARSHMALLOWS?!?”

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Day 20 of my extravaganza and it’s almost coming to an end. Don’t fret my lovelies, because these fluffy-as-a-pillow marshies are sure to put a smile on your face!!

Marshmallows have been on my mental ‘to make’ list for a while now but I was put off by the fact that A) they were messy and B) they could go seriously wrong. I’m talking goopy, sludgy, slimy wrong. But I conquered my fears and I learned a few things along the way. Things I will now share with you:

1) Do NOT store them in the fridge to set up. Unless you like slimy goop. Ick.
2) Dust the HECK out of your pan. You’ll thank yourself later.
3) When it says to use a medium saucepan, USE A MEDIUM SAUCEPAN! A small one won’t cut it. My stove and I learned that the hard way.
3) Lastly and perhaps the most important thing I learned was that if it’s not messy, you’re doing it wrong. 🙂

So, get your MEDIUM saucepan, your baking sheet and let’s get to making some of the most incredible marshmallows. Store bought ones pale in comparison to these.

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Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows
adapted from Joy The Baker
makes about 2 dozen marshmallows

1 cup cold water, divided
3 1/4-ounce packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
half of a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and reserved
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and powdered sugar. Spray a 9×13×2-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and coat with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Set both aside.

Pour 1/2 cup cold water into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment. Pour the three gelatin packs over the cold water and let sit for about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, honey, corn syrup, salt and the remaining cold water to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer the the side of the pan and bring mixture up to 240 degrees F. There’s no need to stir the mixture, just let it get hot hot hot!

When the sugar is heated to 240 degrees F, turn the mixer with the gelatin and water on low speed. Carefully stream the hot sugar mixture into the bowl and the whisk moves. Be careful onto to pour into the whisk and spatter the hot sugar all over the sides of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until you’ve added all of the hot sugar mixture. Beat on high for several minutes until a thick, fluffy, white marshmallow batter has formed… about 8 minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract and vanilla bean and beat for another 2 minutes.

Spread the marshmallow mixture into prepared pan and smooth with a clean, wet spatula to prevent sticking. Top marshmallow with corn starch and powdered sugar mixture and let set and rest for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When set, remove marshmallow from the pan and place on a large cutting board coated with cornstarch and powdered sugar, Use a pizza cutter, coated with non-stick cooking spray to slice marshmallows. Once sliced, toss the cut marshmallows in the cornstarch and powdered sugar and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

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For extra holiday flair: Use a butter knife and dip it into red gel food coloring and swirl gently into your marshmallow fluff (right after you’ve put it into the pan).

Optional: melt some bittersweet chocolate and dip half a marshmallow into the chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies or graham crackers. Let them set up, wrap em and tie them with a pretty bow and give as gifts!!

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Shipping Safe: YES! Put em in baggies and let em go!!
DO NOT FREEZE. I haven’t tried this myself but something tells me that the texture would be compromised and after they thaw, they’d be mushy and gross. Just a guess though.