My family is by no means a small one – from my one sister alone I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews. However, they are all 2,000 miles away. Despite my best efforts, it’s hard to be a good aunt from the opposite side of the continent. I miss the times when I used to spend hours or even days with my nieces and nephews. So, naturally, I was really excited when the BF’s niece, Zoe, asked when she could come over and bake with me.
Of course I told her that she was welcome to come over any time, and since Saturdays are my usual baking day anyway, we set a date for that Saturday. Zoe is an amazingly energetic, beautiful, smart, and quirky 10 year old. She talks a million miles a minute and is super excited about pretty much everything in the whole world.
When Saturday morning finally arrived, Zoe showed up at 10:45 am with a candy-striped apron and a big smile. I set up a couple quick and easy things to make, as well as stuff for snickerdoodles (per her request) and we got straight to work, stopping only for a short break to refuel with some lunch.
It was actually really nice to have someone else in the kitchen with me, since usually I’m just toiling away in the kitchen alone on the weekends. It’s nice to have someone else around – both to chat with and to do a good amount of the work (she even offered to help clean up!). It was like having a really excited, mini sous chef around. We had some good chats, too - about school, movies, and her birthday (she wants a pet rat - I’m sure her parents are thrilled).
When all was said and done we had made snickerdoodle blondies, Puppy Chow (aka “muddy buddies”), and birthday cake rice krispy treats . The krispies must have been really good, because they prompted her to have the genius idea of having a “rice krispy birthday cake”. I had a blast and I can only assume she did too, since she asked to if we could do it again next weekend.
Birthday Cake Rice Krispy Treats
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 10-ounce(ish) bag of mini marshmallows
- 1/4 cup yellow cake mix
- 6 C rice krispies cereal
- 1 1.75-ounce container of sprinkles
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined.
- Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix.
- Press into a greased baking dish (9 x 13 for thinner treats, smaller for thicker) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting.
* The ¼ C cake mix lends a subtle birthday cake flavor, I’ve seen recipes for this that go up to ¾ C cake mix, but this recipe is the “original” one from the rice krispies box.
* Sometimes I find using the whole 6 cups of krispies make them dryer than I’d like, so we filled up my 4 C measuring cup almost to the top (making it close to 5 cups total) and called it a day.
* If you add the sprinkles too soon (like I may have), they will get a bit melty and not look as pretty.
Puppy Chow (aka Muddy Buddies)
- 9 C Chex cereal
- 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ C peanut butter
- ¼ C butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ – 2 C powdered sugar1. Measure cereal and set aside
2. Melt chocolate, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla in the microwave or in a pan over low/medium low heat.
3. Add chex and stir until completely coated.
4. Pour ½ of powdered sugar into a bag, add cereal mix, and top with remaining powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake shake shake until it’s thoroughly coated. Spread on baking sheet to cool.
* I’ve made this with rice chex, corn chex, and even chocolate chex – all are delicious.
* Just like rice krispies – I feel like they end up a little dry if you use all of the cereal called for in the recipe, so I usually cut back by about a cup.
* The best way that I’ve found to shake these (maybe it’s because it’s how I’ve been doing it since junior high) is to dump it all in a paper bag, fold over the top, and go outside to give it a good shake. You may end up covered in a bit of powdered sugar yourself, though.