In the ever-evolving world of American snacking, some innovations capture our hearts and refuse to let go. One such invention is the cereal bar, inspired by the legendary Rice Krispies Treats. From school fundraisers to church picnics, these malleable munchies have graced countless events, proving that the marriage of cereal and marshmallow is nothing short of culinary genius.
The allure of cereal bars, much like their Rice Krispies ancestors, lies in a few simple attributes:
- Simplicity: At their core, cereal bars often require just two main components: a choice of cereal and a binding agent, typically marshmallows or a syrup mixture. This easy combination offers even the least experienced cooks a gateway into the world of homemade snacks.
- Quick Creation: In the fast-paced rhythm of modern life, convenience is king. Cereal bars, with their no-bake nature, promise a delectable outcome in mere minutes, sidelining more time-intensive baked goods.
- Infinite Customization: The true beauty of cereal bars is their adaptability. With a multitude of cereals on the market, from Fruity Pebbles to Corn Flakes, the flavor profiles are endless. Add-ins, such as dried fruits, chocolates, or nuts, only elevate the game, allowing for a fresh twist with every batch.
- Budget-Friendly: Crafting a delicious snack shouldn’t break the bank. Cereal bars, thanks to their modest ingredient list, ensure that hosts can provide for large gatherings without incurring hefty expenses.
- Allergy Considerations: While not universally allergen-free, many cereal bar recipes can be adapted to avoid common allergens, making them a thoughtful choice for diverse groups with varied dietary needs.
The landscape of cereal bars has expanded significantly from the original Rice Krispies blueprint. A stroll down memory lane reveals that while the traditional Rice Krispies Treat held sway for years, inventive cooks soon began to envision a world beyond. A plethora of cereals entered the mix, accompanied by an array of supplementary ingredients, celebrating the essence of culinary creativity.
The birth of this snacking sensation dates back to 1939 when Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day of the Kellogg Company’s Home Economics department unveiled the Rice Krispies Treat. Originally devised as a promotional strategy for Rice Krispies cereal, this snack laid the foundation for a broader category of cereal bars. Today, these treats stand as a testament to American ingenuity, celebrating the spirit of innovation and the joy of a shared snack.
- 11 oz box of lightly sweetened flakes with dehydrated fruit
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) salted or unsalted butter
- 1 bag large marshmallows
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 oz dry cranberries
- 6 oz roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
- Prep Work: Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Melting Phase: In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Allow the butter to finish foaming and allow the butter solids to brown and develop extra caramel flavors. Once browned, add in the marshmallows. Stir continuously until the marshmallows are fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Mix in Salt: Stir in the kosher salt until well combined.
- Adding Cereal: Remove the pot from heat. Gradually fold in the lightly sweetened flakes with dehydrated fruit until they are well-coated with the marshmallow mixture.
- Incorporate Extras: Gently fold in the dry cranberries and chopped roasted almonds, ensuring they're evenly distributed.
- Set and Cool: Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Using a greased spatula (or your hands, lightly wetted with water), press down firmly to create an even layer. Allow the mixture to set and cool for at least 1 hour.
- Serve: Once set, cut into squares or bars.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for best freshness. These bars combine the fruity tang, crunchy almonds, and the classic marshmallow stickiness for a treat that's sure to satisfy.