I get teased constantly about being on Twitter by my friends and family who are not. They see it as a mindless waste of time and though it sure can be, I can attest to the real value of this particular social media tool. I’ve met and made real friends, developed client relationships and participated in a ton of events, from wine tastings to making my own charcuterie. This past summer, I started tweeting with a woman who lives across the river from St. Louis, MO; my hometown. I actually grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis and never ventured downtown much except to go to the zoo or Forest Park but I’ve loved seeing some areas of town revisited and hearing about all of the places Cindy (@mcharcuterie) frequents during her seemingly nonstop adventures to find something good to eat or drink.
One day last July, Cindy was venturing to a place I think she might need to buy stock in. Bobby’s Frozen Custard is well known for some of the best frozen custard in town (yes, St. Louis folks know that too!). She had mentioned how much she loved these Rice Krispie Treats often enough and one day, in the MIDDLE of summer, she asked if she could send me one. I laughed because it was so blasted hot, but gave her my address and thought maybe in the fall it would be fun to try one. Lo and behold a box arrived the next day, overnight from the St. Louis area with a cold pack to keep this delicious treat from melting into a puddle. Winner!! And it was everything my hometown friend had promised. Chewy rice crispy treats covered with a layer of caramel and then covered with pecans. She was hoping I would recreate this treasure and I was on it!
So why am I posting now? Well, first they were a pain; covering the Rice Krispie treats that I molded around a stick with caramel was no easy task in a home kitchen. Maybe that’s because I went a bit overboard with the size? It was a big treat but mine were bigger. I mean like HUGE. I didn’t figure out how much girth that caramel and nuts would add and once completed…they weighed almost a pound. Yes…I said a POUND! So, to eat them, (really the word devour could be used) the novelty of the stick was soon lost in cutting them into pieces to share. I still thought I would share but time got away from me and they were relegated to the back of my mind, never totally lost but sort of forgotten, I won’t deny.
As luck would have it, I made a trip to Jerry’s Nut House when I participated in a local Swap Meet (I took my Wood Butter and came home with fresh veggies, cookies, bitters and some homemade tea!). If you think the candy rack at the local grocery store is enticing (or your kids do) then this is a sight to behold. Walls and walls of every treat imaginable. Jerry found out I had a blog and offered me some goodies to try and I thought best if my choices were conducive to what would appeal to my readers…many who are bakers and cookie makers. So we devised a plan and last week I received a fabulous box of goodies.
When my counter ended up with Melting Wafers and Walnut Pieces sitting on the counter next to a box of Rice Krispies a plan was borne. While those ingredients reminded me of those wonderful St. Louis treats, I knew that to be happier with results I had to revisit and revise from my initial effort and these Rice Krispie Treats with Chocolate, Toasted Walnuts and Salted Caramel did not disappoint.
Although my first re-creation attempt only included a drizzle of chocolate, I decided to make it a significant layer. How wrong could that be, right? Pecans? Walnuts? Almonds? I think any nut you love would work just fine. I kicked up the Rice Krispies just a notch by browning the butter (makes even just the plain ones something more special) and though I contemplated making my own caramel there are just times when a girl has to do what a girl has to do…and my over-extended workload and resulting lack of time saw me use Kraft caramels with a whisper of salt and they were perfect. Sometimes easier is good. Since Cindy is from Belleville, IL I christened these as Belleville Bars and some candy company needs to get with me stat or I’m starting my own company. They. Are. DIVINE!!
Seriously good. Yummy. Delicious. Amen. Perfect for a Halloween party. A football game. Holiday gifts. You!
- 1 - 13" X 9" pan of warm Rick Krispie Treats (I used the recipe at http://www.ricekrispies.com/en_US/recipes/the-original-treats.html and just browned the butter before proceeding with the next steps).
- 12 oz of chocolate melting discs or chips
- 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
- 1 pkg of Kraft caramels
- 2-4 Tbsp of half and half
- Sea Salt to taste
- Using a double boiler or microwave on low setting, melt the chocolate. Pour it evenly over the warm Krispie Treats
- Spread the chocolate to the edges of the pan and immediately scatter the nuts over the chocolate;gently press them into the warm chocolate.
- Heat the caramels and half and half in a saucepan on low heat until the caramels melt and combine with the half and half. (I used my immersion blender to speed up the process but a whisk will do the trick, just be more patient than me!).
- Add a few pinches of sea salt to taste and mix well.
- Drizzle the caramel evenly over the top of the treat.
- Cool. Cut into rectangular bars or squares.