When I was in middle school, my paternal grandparents lived in a house far too big for just the two of them, but which happened to be diagonally across the street from where my parents, brothers and I lived. My brothers and I would spend a lot of time over in their house, particularly on weekdays during the summer. There wasn’t a whole lot to do over there except watch Grandpa’s apparently infinite collection of old movies (my favorites were the Errol Flynn movies, Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood), but at least once a week during the summer, Grandma would supervise my me and my brothers making her version of rice krispie treats. This basically meant that she would do all the steps involving heat, and my brothers and I would take turns stirring and smashing the final mixture so it would stick together in the end. We’d eat them at lunch with our grilled Wonder Bread and American cheese sandwiches (made on a weird sandwich press thing…I don’t miss those one bit) and apple slices or carrot sticks.
The summer before we started high school, my grandparents moved to an apartment in Phoenix and my immediate family moved into their old house. In May of last year, my grandmother moved in with us, back to her old (now much-renovated) house. I haven’t made rice krispie treats since Grandma and Grandpa A (to distinguish them from Grandma and Grandpa B, my maternal grandparents) moved away, but Grandma brought up the subject of the treats a few nights ago, along with the fact that she had a jar of marshmallow fluff sitting on a shelf. So what the heck. We’re making rice krispie treats.*
Grandma’s version of this semi-classic kid’s dessert has three major things going for it. One, it’s simple: four ingredients, requires about 5 minutes of cooking time and about an hour of cooling time, and you’re done. The second is that you can make it all using exactly one pan and one spatula, although I like to use an additional bowl to measure out the cereal beforehand so I can just dump it all in at once. The third, most important thing is that these have a cup of chocolate chips stirred into the hot marshmallow-butter mixture along with the cereal, so you get little chunks of chocolate in most bites and a chocolate swirl throughout.
Grandma A.’s Rice Krispie Treats
Recipe from my grandmother, but it’s very similar to the official “original” recipe here.
2-3 Tbsp butter
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
6 cups Rice Krispies or equivalent cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
In a metal 9×13-inch pan, melt butter over low heat, moving it around with a spatula so that it coats all of the bottom and sides of the pan. As soon as butter is melted, add marshmallow fluff and continue heating until fluff has melted, stirring frequently to combine fluff and butter and to prevent burning.
Once fluff and butter are melted together, remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies and chocolate chips and mix thoroughly, so that all of the cereal is coated in fluff and chocolate chips are evenly distributed. Using a spatula, press mixture down firmly so it can set. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
[Note: if you don’t have a metal pan, melt the butter and fluff together in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat, then add to the bowl containing cereal and chocolate chips, mix thoroughly, and press down into an appropriately-sized pan that has been lined with wax paper or coated with butter or non-stick cooking spray.]
*Confession time: The main reason these were so popular with my brothers and me is that the other dessert our Grandpa liked us to make (since it requires a lot of arm-muscle power) was Jell-O with marshmallows and mandarin oranges mixed in. Sorry, Jell-O fans: these are infinitely better.