Friday, August 3, 2012

Trail Mix Rice Krispies Treats with Salted Caramel Swirl

It was bound to happen, huh?  Eventually I would get on the salted caramel kick (just in time for some new trend to hit the foodie blog world).  It's not that I resisted on purpose, I just haven't had salted caramel that made the craze make sense to me.  Dave and I visited Portland earlier this summer and I had a cupcake supposedly topped with salted caramel buttercream frosting.  I was less than impressed.  It barely tasted like caramel, let alone a heavenly salted version.  And I've just always had other things I wanted to try.  Not that it doesn't sound like a good idea--gooey salty and sweet treats--and I've certainly pinned, marked, and otherwise saved my fair share of salted caramel concoctions.  And now, I've got to make them because these treats are a perfect ambassador for the trend.  First off, it's a Rice Krispies treat, which gets lots of love from me to begin with.  And the caramel just makes them that much gooier (wow, I didn't actually think that was a word, but spell check is unfazed).  Add in the sweet and salty trail mix from M&M's that I didn't even know existed, which in and of itself is a perfect treat, and there's double deliciousness in the form of my favorite candy.  Plus, this salted caramel shines perfectly against the sweet and salty trail mix and the crunch of the cereal provides the perfect canvas for all that's going on here.  Simply put: yum.

My friend Mere had a birthday last month, but a couple weeks before her birthday, I was going to meet up with her before she caught a flight from Boston after spending a week on a business trip in Vermont.  So I decided a little early birthday baking never hurt anyone and took to searching for something portable for the plane and a little different.  I looked through some of my pins and some of my favorite blogs and noticed this amazing recipe from Shelly at Cookies & Cups and thought, "where has my grocery store been hiding that trail mix?", printed the recipe and hit the store on my way home.

Lo and behold I found the elusive M&Ms trail mix (it wasn't actually elusive--it was next to all the other candy and trail mix and nuts).  They had peanut and dark chocolate so I bought a bag of each (they were on sale!).  What I didn't do was actually read the recipe until I got home and saw Shelly's note that I'd need two bags of the mix for the recipe.  I didn't want to mix the peanuts and the almonds (plus the dark chocolate Ms came with raisins and the peanut Ms came with tiny cookies) so I adjusted the amount of cereal and supplemented with extra dark chocolate M&Ms because I had a bag in my stash of candy.  Like any krispies treat recipe, these are easy.  The caramel is perfectly dotted into the bars, as opposed to mixed in, and the flavor of the trail mix just pops out of the cereal.  Lots of flavor, easy treat.  You don't have to use the M&Ms trail mix--use your favorite, your homemade, whatever, just make these bars.

Trail Mix Rice Krispies Treats with Salted Caramel Swirl


4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 1/2 cups M&Ms sweet and salty trail mix or trail mix of choice
1/2 cup dark chocolate M&Ms
1/4 cup butter
1 10.5 ounce bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup caramel bits or soft caramel candies, chopped
1 teaspoon milt
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

In a large bowl, measure out cereal, trail mix and M&Ms.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add marshmallows and stir until melted and combined.  Allow to cool slightly.

Place caramels and milk in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1 minute on high.  Add salt, stir to combine and smooth.  Set aside.

Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal/trail mix and stir to combine, working quickly.

Pour or dollop caramel mixture on top of cereal mixture, but don't stir it in (this will leave swirls or pockets of caramel throughout the bars).

Transfer cereal mixture to a greased 9 x 13 pan, pressing gently into an even layer.

Cool for about 30 minutes before cutting and storing in an airtight container.

Makes 24 bars.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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  1. And they were delicious!!!! I think half of them didn't even make it home. :)