COOKING ADVENTURES #70: Rice Krispie Treats and Personal Chocolate Chip Cookie
Finally after nearly a month of no Cooking Adventures, I have returned with a necessary reboot. Most of you know the whole spiel: I went on a crazy hike, got nominated for an award, and have been working crazy hours in between whilst trying to finish a manuscript. All of that is done and over with. Now I’ve got some time to get back into the swing of things with some new recipes. And while this weeks didn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to create, I did have some trouble with another recipe that I’ve made several times without incident. I intend to share both experiences with you. And you’re going to love the one I messed up on. It was none other than a single chocolate chip cookie. “How? How utterly incompetent must you be to screw up making a chocolate chip cookie?” you may ask. Apparently, just incompetent enough.
One morning after pouring myself a bowl of rice krispies, I decided that I would use the remainder of the box to create those gooey, sticky, wonderful snacks that everyone remembers from their childhood: Rice Krispie Treats. As I ate spoonful after spoonful of the instantly soggy cereal, I thought about how often I’d had these delectable goodies at other people’s parties but had never had them at home. It was a snack that my parent’s had never made. While the idea of them always seems as if its good, I began to wonder just how much of a mess they would make. After all, its melted marshmallow we’re dealing with. It’s the food world’s version of industrial epoxy that will forever glue itself to pots, pans, and your teeth.
But the temptation of crunchy sugary blocks was just too much for me and in the end, I gave into the desire to do it.
This recipe is pretty easy. According to the official Rice Krispie Treats recipe from Kellogg, you are to mix 3 tbsp. of butter or margarine in a pot along with a package of marshmallows (or around 40 if you happen to have a life-time supply.) Once the marshmallow is melted, you mix in your 6 cups of rice krispies and then pour them out onto some wax paper in a baking dish to solidify into the decadent beauties we all know and love. If only it were that simple for me.
I decided that it might be a good idea to first measure how many rice krispies I had left so that I had matching ratios in my other ingredients. I poured the remaining krispies into my glass measuring bowl and of course, came up short of the requisite 6 cups… I had only 3. But at least then, the recipe was easier to figure out. All I had to do was half everything. Trying to determine exactly how much 1 and 1/2 tbsp. of butter without a measuring device was interesting. I pretty much just winged it and tossed the pat of butter into the pan to melt.
Then, I painstakingly measured out exactly twenty marshmallows and once the butter was melted, tossed them all in. Then, I stirred, watching as their corpulant plush bodies melted into soft white goo. Strings of it coated each side of the pan as I moved the stir stick around. I glanced at the recipe page and took note that I was to use “fresh marshmallows” for the recipe. Let me know when there’s such a thing as a marshmallow tree so that I can pick them off the branches before making my rice krispie treats. Just for the record, my marshmallows were nowhere near fresh. They’d been up in my cabinet for a while. At least they didn’t disintegrate in my hands or turn into something with the consistency of freeze-dried ice cream.
When the melted marshmallow was smooth and there was no trace of their former shapes left, I removed the pot from the heat and immediately poured in my rice krispies. As I stirred, my immediate reaction was that I had too much cereal and not enough marshmallow. I continued to mix, slowly realizing that everything was coming together just fine and that the proportions were right. I located my baking sheet with the wax paper laid across it and pulled at the rice krispies until they plopped in a large uneven blob onto the pan. It was here that the marshmallow decided to start hardening. I scraped as furiously as I could to try and get the rest of the mixture out before it cemented itself inside. I was ultimately successful but still had a pretty nice layer of cereal nuggets covering the bottom and sides of the pot.
We all know that rice krispie treats are always cut into thick blocks. They’re more enjoyable that way. Because I only had half of the recipe, all I managed to get was a strange thin layer that didn’t even cover the surface area of my pan. I knew that looks weren’t too important when it came to these treats; all that was important was the taste. I broke off a corner when I thought they’d cooled (not really… I waited a minute… if that) and ate it. Buttery sweet with a crunchy texture. Perfect. I took the pan out to my car and brought it over to my parent’s place for them to enjoy. Turns out my dad had been craving rice krispie treats that day. My ESP seems to be becoming more prevalent.
My other cooking misadventure this week occurred with the aforementioned chocolate chip cookie that I tried to make. I’ve made this recipe many, many times. This is the recipe you make when you are in the mood for just the right amount of chocolate but don’t want to make a whole batch or run out to the store to buy any. In a little cup or bowl, you melt 1 tbsp of butter. To that, you add 1 tbsp of white sugar, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, a pinch of salt, 3 drops of vanilla extract, 1/4 cup flour, an egg yolk, and 2 tbsp. chocolate chips, then mix it all together, microwave it for one minute… and presto! You have a personalized chocolate chip cookie to enjoy, cry over, or praise to the high heavens.
I do as I always do: I add a little more vanilla extract, not enough salt, way more than 2 tbsp. of chocolate chips, and mix everything together. The egg. I’ve always remembered just to add the egg yolk. This time, I spaced. I added the whole egg. I knew something was wrong immediately when I had way too much liquid and not nearly enough dry ingredients. However, instead of scrapping the entire thing, I just added more flour to the recipe, mixed it until I thought it had some substance and tossed it in the microwave for a minute.
What came out barely resembled a cookie. It was shiny, rubbery, and quite pancake-like. And the taste was just awful! It was like trying to eat a tire. I’m not one to let chocolate chips go to waste though, so I made sure that I found each and every single one in the rubber pancake cookie monstrosity before dumping it in my trash. So much for enjoying something tasty before bed.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be regaling you with tales of creating a succulent shrimp dish for summer that made my cat act like a psychopath for a short time. Want to know more? Stay tuned!