Is there anything quite like the taste of fresh Rice Krispies cereal sprinkled with a dusting of granulated sugar and topped with a generous splash of cold milk — especially as a 10 p.m. snack?
Of course there is, but that particular crunchy treat is one fondly remembered from childhood, although now only rarely indulged in by this middle-aged, health-conscious individual.
Fresh? Those highly processed grains of white rice combined with sugar, salt and malted barley syrup at a distant food processing plant and stamped with a “best if used by” date 12 months in the future? Healthy? With roughly 210 milligrams of sodium per serving and zero grams of dietary fiber? Well … it’s debatable.
The marketing managers in Battle Creek sure were at the top of their game in the ’70s, though. Images of the friendly, animated trio–Snap, Crackle and Pop — frolicking about and singing the cereal’s praises — still lurk in the recesses of my mind, while one catchy tune that accompanied their exhortations will never escape me: “Rice Krispies in the morning; Rice Krispies as a treat; Rice Krispies ‘fore you go to bed, taste so light and neat.”
But surely it’s the 92-year-old Rice Krispies’ involvement as the central ingredient in the classic bar/snack commonly known as Rice Krispie Treats that has cemented their status as a fixture in American kitchens and grocery stores.
Decades ago, one of the first cooking tasks on which I embarked was melting a stick of Blue Bonnet margarine, adding a bag of marshmallows and dumping in six cups of Rice Krispies to create the irresistible sticky-sweet combo. Somehow I remember only culinary success in pressing the goop into a nine-by-13 cake pan before devouring it with my older brother.
Along the way, though, I’ve taken a critical misstep: I am a certified failure at making Rice Krispie bars.
How can this be, when the recipe should be one of the most foolproof that exists? Is it because Kellogg’s now recommends making the bars with less butter/margarine? Or is this simply not a skill that has found its way into my tool kit?
Either way, it’s sadly true that I can make Rice Krispie bars only for my immediate family and never for a crowd or guests because mine are guaranteed flops each and every time.
For some reason, I can’t get the marshmallows to melt completely, whether using stove top or microwave method, and my distribution of marshmallows and butter/margarine is ill-fated and never achieved to maximum potential.
Therefore, my pan of treats typically ends up with large clumps of white goo in certain spots and blotches of overly dry, loose Rice Krispies in others–not a pleasure to eat.
And Scotcheroos, which employ peanut butter, corn syrup and a chocolate topping along with Rice Krispies, are equally unattainable in my kitchen.
Cream puffs? Crepes? Coffee cake? Got ’em all in my food arsenal, and I can prepare and serve them with confidence.
But my family knows better than to rely on Mom for Rice Krispie Treats perfection. At parties or potlucks, we secretly ooh and ah at the gloriously blended concoctions put forward by other cooks who know their way around a box of Rice Krispies.
“Pick one up,” I’ve hissed in a loved one’s ear. “You never know when you’ll get another good one.”
If you’re looking for a marshmallow master, keep looking.
Check out Time for Moore, Jane Turpin Moore’s blog, at https://timeformoore566445504.wordpress.com.