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Rice Crispy Squares—Not as bad for you, or as easy as you think

March 28, 2014

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This is probably one of the first recipes many kids try to make which is kind of surprising because while the ingredients are just three and super simple, you are basically making a candy and as such there are a lot of things that can go wrong go wrong go wrong. Or a lot of ways a young child could easily burn themselves but I know I started making them when I was likely 10-12.

But the beauty of these babes is that they mix up so kickin’ fast. We had a potluck the other day at work which I had kind of forgotten about and whipped these suckers together as I was getting ready for work in less than 10 minutes, maybe 15 until they were cut into squares.

And they are relatively low in calories, with the nutrition of hey—breakfast cereal! Fortified, a bowl of cereal (1 ¼ cups) supply 25 percent of a day’s needs in Vitamin A, C, D, E; 60 percent of iron and a bunch of other vitamins/minerals. Extrapolated to the proportion of actual cereal used in the squares, 2 large squares might have that amount of vitamins. Consumed with a glass of milk: breakfast. Not that I’ve ever done that, but just saying. They also contain a lot of sugar but maybe no more than a kid would pour on a bowl of cereal when you’re not looking.

But Kellogg’s and the store brands no longer automatically put the recipe on the box, and often it is not on the bag of marshmallows either, so when I made these last week, I actually did have to look up the proportions online.

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Rice Crispy Squares

6 cups cereal
40 marshmallows (regular size—not tiny, not the huge kind)
4 Tablespoons butter

Melt butter in skillet on top of stove, low to medium heat. When all melted, add the marshmallows, and stir until they are all melted. Do not let butter brown and do not melt too fast. Remove butter and melted marshmallows from heat. Immediately stir cereal into the pan. Will become very stiff. If making with a child, let the child stir until it becomes too hard for them.

Spread mixture into 13 x 9” pan sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Using scraper or wax paper, press down into pan as evenly as possible. Let cool a minute or two, then cut into squares. Makes about 24.

Hint: If you are taking the whole pan to a potluck or other event but still want to taste them while they’re fresh, save enough mixture to spread into minipan.

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About 100 calories a piece.

The things that can go wrong if you don’t work quickly and have marshmallows and cereal measured out ahead of time are (and I’ve made all these mistakes):
1) the butter or margarine cooks too long and turns brown
2) the marshmallows are put on two high of heat and the mixture hardens like candy as you spread them out in the pan
3) you wait too long to spread them out in the pan and the mixture becomes an unmanageable mess
4) too much stuff remains in the skillet and you waste a lot of cereal/ingredients

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When did you first learn to make rice crispy squares? Or what do you remember making first as a child?

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There’s a whole chapter on packable treats that supply decent nutrition in my book Whatever Happened to Dinner? The chapter is called “Eating on the Run–Taking Charge of ‘Fast’ Food” and it includes Jodi Nisly Hertzler’s chart for helping kids pack their own school lunches using one item from these groups: proteins, grains, fruits/veggies, and “treats.” Find the book here:

WHATDINNER

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From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

4 Comments
  1. jennifermurch permalink

    I have no self control when it comes to rice crispy treats. None.

  2. Alice Risser permalink

    You are really doing it the hard way. Use the Microwave. Much simpler and safer for a child. Even as a 74 year old grandmother they are still one of my favorites.

    • Alice, I appreciate the hint! I’ve seen the microwave directions and thought meh, I’ll just stick to my old way but with your encouragement I will try it! Can’t wait to try these with my grandchildren … in a few years!

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