Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Treats

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So I’m on a little bit of a pumpkin kick, so sue me. Get off my back, it’s fall and, honestly, this isn’t the last pumpkin recipe you’re going to see up here…

I was having a really off day in the kitchen this Sunday, so I decided it was probably in my best interest to stick to “simple” recipes. Isn’t it weird how that happens? Some days it’s just like no matter what you make, even if it’s a recipe you’ve made 100 times before, something is just… off. Like I had kitchen amnesia or something… it was really annoying. Eventually I just gave up and sat on the couch for the rest of the day. Upsetting.

Once I saw this autumn twist on a classic treat I just had to try it. It looks easy enough, relatively difficult to mess up, I mean… it is a rice krispy treat, after all. Given my list of other krispy treat creations, how could I pass it up? Plus, um hello – PUMPKIN!

If you want an easy treat to take to a work potluck or just want a creative way to use up the rest of your crisp rice cereal (or leftover pumpkin puree), go ahead and give these bars a whirl.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows plus one cup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 cups puffed rice cereal

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish (I like to line mine in plastic wrap – no mess to clean up!)

Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to cook until it is warmed through. Fold in 10 ounces of the marshmallows, stirring frequently until almost completely melted. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt, and remove from heat.

THIS NEXT PART IS IMPORTANT…

Allow the marshmallow mixture to cool 10 minutes; fold in the remaining cup of marshmallows. Continue to cool the mixture for another 20 to 25 minutes until it is room temperature (failure to cool the mixture will result in soggy rice crispy treats.)

Add the puffed rice cereal and stir, using a silicone spatula, until combined.

Press the mixture into the greased rectangular baking dish. Let set for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

* I suspect the world will not come to a screeching halt if you use pumpkin pie filling, just reduce or omit the other spices (except vanilla)

pumpkin dessert (or breakfast) squares

pumpkin-dessert-squaresIt’s fall, it’s fall, it’s fall! And we all know what that means, lots and lots of pumpkin! Mmmmm sweet, tasty, delicious pumpkin. BF’s not huge on pumpkin (or so he thinks), even though he loves pumpkin pie, doesn’t mind my pumpkin bread, and devours these pumpkin bars.

Anyone who has been in Williams Sonoma in the fall knows about these pumpkin bars.

Sometimes I troll WS just to see if they have the samples out. These are one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. The trick to the bars’ complex flavor is using pumpkin butter instead of pumpkin puree. Some might call that “cheating”, but I call it genius.

The recipe at WS uses their Muirhead pumpkin butter (of course), but at $10.95 a jar, who wants to buy that? Don’t get me wrong, the stuff is frickin delicious, but $10.95 is a little steep, and maybe you don’t have a WS near you (you poor soul, you). Any pumpkin butter should do, just make sure you get the right amount in there – 13.5 ounces.

Though the recipe claims these are “dessert bars”, they’ve been enjoyed just as much as a “coffee cake” replacement. Whatever you do this fall, you simply must make these, they’re de-lish. Don’t let the box cake mix scare you away… I promise you won’t regret it…

Hmmm, looks like I’m running a little low on cinnamon… time for a trip to the store… Yes, I use cinnamon that much. Don’t judge me, you’re just jealous of my giant cinnamon jar…

First, place all but 1 cup of the cake mix into a medium bowl

Stir in 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 egg until it’s thoroughly mixed, then press into the bottom of a prepared 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a separate bowl (or the same bowl, rinsed, if you’re not into wasting dishes like yours truly) mix the jar of pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk. Pour mixture over the cake mix.

Combine the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. I find the best way to do this is with my (gloved) hands. Get in there real good and just keep smooshing (yes, that’s the technical term) the butter until it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Sprinkle over the pumpkin butter layer and bake at 350F for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown. After cooled, cut into squares and enjoy these bite size pumpkin treats. Take them to work to bribe your coworkers, give them to your neighbors as a holiday gift, or feed them to your significant other to make them too fat to run away from you …. Ignore that last part.

 

pumpkin dessert (or breakfast) squares

Ingredients

  • 1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 (13.5 oz) jar pumpkin butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and one egg until well mixed. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13" pan.
  3. Mix the jar of pumpkin butter with remaining two eggs and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix layer.
  4. Whisk reserved 1 cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add softened butter and cut in with fork, pastry cutter, or your hands until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
http://wee-eats.com/2011/11/04/pumpkin-dessert-squares/

 

millionaire’s shortbread bars

millionaire bar

Hello everyone! Did you miss me terribly? I’m on a plane back to AZ as we speak, and decided you all deserved a new recipe in case you were in the baking mood this weekend. I had to look through my recipe drafts, since I obviously haven’t been around to bake.These seem like a popular one, and I think with a few tweaks they could really live up to their full potential 🙂

Millionaire Shortbread recipes have been invading the internet for a few years now. Once BAKED bakery released their first cookbook, this recipe was the first one to explode. Actually, probably BAKED brownie was first, followed by this wildly popular bar. It’s remniscent of one of my favorite candy bars: Twix.

Laziness prevented me from finally getting around to making these, I mean, layers and stuff. Effort. Ugh. Wow I’m whiny… anyway if you follow the recipe in the actual book it’s not so bad. They actually do more of what I guess is technically a “dulce de leche” caramel layer. You just boil the sweetened condensed milk until it turns into “caramel”. That being said, I didn’t care for it. I found the bars lacking in a few ways, but since the recipe is so wildly popular, I figured I should let you guys decide for yourselves.

In MY opinion, the flavor was a little flat. So my recommendations are: add a 1/2 tsp vanilla to the shortbread layer. MAKE YOUR OWN REAL CARAMEL, not the “caramel-del-can”.  Oh, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel never hurt anyone…Since I’m on an airplane, I don’t have access to a ‘go-to’ caramel recipe, so I’ll put this $13 in-flight internet to use and find one to link you to.

MILLIONAIRE SHORTBREAD BARS

[ Printable Recipe ]

Shortbread (for better shortbread recipe, see my Tagalong bars)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 /12 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten

Caramel filling

  • 28 ounces sweetened condensed milk (two 14-ounce cans)

Chocolate glaze

  • 6 oz dark chocolate (60% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

For the shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. butter (or line with parchment) the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter together until blended
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat until well combined. Add the egg yolk and beat for a few seconds, or until just combined.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough and your hands with a little flour. Use your hands to gently work the dough into a 6-by-6-inch square. You will have to turn the dough and sprinkle the top with flour as you go. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour on the surface of the dough. Fold the dough over and knead until incorporated, then flatten the dough into a rectangle. Transfer the rectangle to the prepared pan and press it into the pan.
  5. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the caramel filling:

  1. Put the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on 50 percent power (medium) for 4 minutes, stirring briskly halfway through, until smooth. Continue cooking on 30 percent power (medium-low) for 12 to 18 minutes, until very thick and caramel colored, stirring briskly every 2 minutes, until smooth.
  2. Pour the caramel filling over the cooled shortbread and place the pan in the refrigerator until cool, about two hours.

For the chocolate glaze:

  1. In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. *Alternatively, you can melt it in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals until melted
  2. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled caramel layer and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the glaze hardens.
  3. Remove the pan from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving so as not to crack the chocolate glaze. Cut into squares and serve.

The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.

BETTER Milli Shortbread recipe…

Alternate Cookie Recipe

For the cookie layer

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and milk. Add flour and mix on low until just incorporated. It will be on the dry side.
  3. Pour out onto parchment paper and form into general rectangle shape. Roll close to 9 x 13” and transfer into 9 x 13 baking pan. Press into bottom of pan until it reaches the edges, leaving a slight lip on the edges.
  4. Poke holes in shortbread with a fork and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool completely on wire rack before topping.

BFF recommends this caramel recipe instead, I think it looks a little over the top but this one’s “tested and BFF approved” so it’ll do 🙂

Alternate Caramel Recipe

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  1. In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup, water and lemon juice.  Wet the sides of the pan with a little water if any of the ingredients have crept up.  Cover the saucepan and cook it over medium heat for 4 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil.  Do not stir.  The mixture will bubble, and if sugar appears on the sides of the pan, brush them back down with a wet pastry brush.  The bubbles will continue to get larger.
  3. In the meantime, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.   Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Return to the sugar mixture, which will turn golden brown after 5 or 6 minutes.  With a candy thermometer, make sure the mixture has reached 300, then remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 1 minutes, until the bubbles subside.  Whisk in the heavy cream off the heat and whisk in the condensed milk.  Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth
  5. Return the saucepan to medium heat and stir constantly until the caramel reaches 240. Pour over the shortbread and allow to set.

[ Original recipe adapted from Baked ]

[ caramel recipe borrowed from here ]

Lemon Bars

lemon bars

Lemon bars a great pick-me-up dessert. They have a refreshing lemony tang cut with the perfect amount of sweetness and just a bit of crunch. Also, when you have a tree full of lemons out back, you have to try pretty much anything you can to get rid of them. So when my friend Amy mentioned she was thinking about making lemon bars, I jumped on the opportunity to force her to bake them at my house.

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