Rocky Road Rice Krispies Treat: a taste of the midwest

by Irvin on February 2, 2012 · 7 comments

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It was the sort of invite that I couldn’t ignore. “Come over for dinner and we’ll dine on treats inspired by St. Louis and the Midwest!” AJ and I discussed the invitation for a brief three milliseconds before we texted back to our friend Peter and Grant in the affirmative. Peter and I had met in St. Louis at college, and the idea of revisiting our college days via food sounded awesome. The only thing was, I had volunteered to make a dessert for the evening and I wasn’t sure what to make. My initial thought was a gooey butter cake, but it’s more of a lunch coffee cake thing than an after dinner treat. Then I thought of frozen custard, but my friend Hadley was going to be there, and he happens to be terribly lactose intolerant. In the end, I went with a classic Midwest treat, reworked to make it a touch bit fancier. Fast and simple was the key because the original dessert that I had promised to bring didn’t happen. Instead I went with a Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treat.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-13 Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats

Now I’ve made Rice Krispie Treats before for this blog, about this time last year in fact for Valentine’s Day. That one was definitely a little bit fancier. But this time I didn’t have time to make the marshmallows from scratch. In fact, I had about an hour before the party started to make my dessert treat. This was because the original dessert I wanted to make, a Tunnel of Fudge bundt cake, just didn’t happen. In the immortal words of Katy Perry, it was an epic fail. The first time I unmolded the cake, the cake center oozed out, having not baked long enough. I quickly scooped it up and put it back in the bundt pan and baked it longer. It overbaked, without any tunnel or fudge at all. I was screwed with no time to make another one.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-7 Friends Ben, Tina and Hadley all chatting away and exchanging stories as we munched away.

So I took a hard look at my pantry to see if anything jumped out and screamed Midwest to me. Then I spied the bags of marshmallows and the box of Rice Krispies and a classic Midwest treat was reborn. Of course, being the typical food blogger, I had to fancify it a bit – throwing in some chocolate chips and some chopped California walnuts as well as prebake the Rice Krispies cereal with some butter, sugar and milk powder to give them a salty caramelized flavor. They weren’t the prettiest looking Rice Krispie Treats, but they definitely were one of the tastiest according my friends.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-12 Of course, my gracious hosts had a fancy glass pedestal plate to put them on.

The dinner party was fantastic, as expected. Appetizers included tortilla chips with vegetarian Sloppy Joe dip (I believe it might have been Manwich seasoning), Crab Ragoons (which were a definite step up from any crab ragoon I had in St. Louis – as it was made with minimal cream cheese and real crab meat) served without the scary neon pink sweet and sour sauce, and the St. Louis specialty, Toasted Ravioli. If you have never had Toasted Ravioli, it’s breaded, deep fried ravioli with marina dipping sauce and is a St. Louis tradition. I personally love it, but Peter’s version was baked instead of fried and was coated with an ingenious blend of panko crumbs, fried onions and ritz crackers. Ritz crackers! It was a midwest themed party…he was keeping it real.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-3 Manwich dip. ‘Nuff said. Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-2 Crab Ragoon made with actual crab meat. Whoduthunkit? Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-1 Classic St. Louis style toasted Ravioli, how I missed thee.

Grant made both St. Louis style pizza (the crust is cracker thin – Cook’s Country had recently done an episode about St. Louis food) as well as Chicago style deep dish pizza. They even went beyond the call of duty and made Pasta House salad. Pasta House is an ersatz Olive Garden chain in St. Louis, that offered an unlimited salad and breadstick option, which (being poor college students at the time) we almost always got. Of course, Peter and Grant’s Pasta House version is way better than I remembered in St. Louis. I think it’s because the salad wasn’t sitting around in the dressing for hours beforehand.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-9 Grant rolling out the thin St. Louis style pizza crust Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-8 Peter topping the pizza. Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-10 The pizza options of Chicago style deep dish and St. Louis style thin crust. Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-11 Don’t forget the Pasta House style salad.

Of course the evening was filled with stories about how I was fired from my first temp job in San Francisco (remind me to tell you that sometime), motorcycle accidents, taking PE classes in walking, and trying to find a good dry cleaner in St. Louis (hint, don’t go to Tip Top Cleaners there). That said, it was nice to kick back, enjoy an evening with friends, and eat the food from where I grew up. Well, except it was a little better than the memory of what I used to eat. Which is just as it should be, as the present should always trump the past. Thanks Peter and Grant for a walk down memory lane.

Rocky-Road-Rice-Krispie-Treats-Eat-The-Love-Irvin-Lin-17 Rocky Road Rice Krispie Treats for a midwest themed dinner.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail February 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

I’m not wild about Rice Krispie treats, but these are very intriguing, Irvin!
I love what you bake.

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Deanna B February 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

I love Rice Krispies treats, especially when I can’t taste the marshmallow. Marshmallow just isn’t my thing, so I love that its not the dominate flavor.

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Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen February 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm

These look so good! I’ve been seeing a lot of fancy rice-krispie treats lately. Perhaps they’re the new cupcake/cake pop/macaron?

Those ravioli look amazing as well. I’ve had toasted ravioli before, but had no clue it was a St. Louis thing!

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Garrett February 2, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Lord, I can’t even recall the last time I had rice krispie treats. I appreciate the ride on the waybackmachine, Irvin.

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thelittleloaf February 3, 2012 at 5:20 am

Brown butter and extra toasty krispie bits? These sound AMAZING! Only just discovered your blog but am loving exploring all the recipes – this one is no exception :-)

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Deb February 3, 2012 at 10:16 am

Rice Krispie Treats can be bland and sticky sweet, but your post is a compelling reason to revisit a classic. Scrumptious little treats!

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Jean | Delightful Repast February 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

Oh, Irvin, how this post made me smile! I’ve never made Rice Krispie Treats in all my life (considerably longer than yours!) but I have to admit I’ve eaten a few! Which I suppose makes me a bit of a hypocrite–too much of a food snob to even have the ingredients in my house, but will eat Rice Krispie Treats (just out of politeness, of course!) at other people’s houses. :D

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