Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peppermint Bark Cereal Treats

Peppermint Bark Cereal Treats
I love this time of year because I can find so many yummy mint-with-chocolate treats. Seriously, mint and chocolate is such a yummy combination. And it always reminds me of the holidays. I am Dove Peppermint Bark chocolates. Peppermint Bark anything is so delicious.

This time of year is so busy and it seems like the holidays just creep up on me. We spent some time in Florida last week visiting some close friends and I was on the beach and realized that we hadn't done any neighbor or friend gifts! I wanted to do something quick, easy and festive. Here's a fun twist on traditional cereal treats. The very marshmallowy, minty, chocolately, and super festive. One batch does a cookie sheet sized pan, so you only need to do a batch or two and you'll have a bunch to go around.

Here's what you need:
-1 lb. of mini marshmallows (I love using the peppermint kind if you can find them)
-5 TBS of real butter (plus a little extra for buttering your pan)
-1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
-1/8 teaspoon of peppermint oil (The oil is more potent, but I love the flavor.)
-9 C of rice cereal (Rice Krispies or any off-brand)
-a few drops of red food coloring (if not using peppermint marshmallows)

Peppermint Bark Drizzle

-1/2 C semi-sweet baking chips
-1/2 C white baking chips
-1/4 tsp. peppermint oil, divided
-3-4 crushed peppermint candy canes
-1-2 TBS of oil (can use vegetable, canola or coconut. I prefer coconut)

1. Butter a standard-sized cookie sheet and set it aside.

2. Place butter into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until completely melted.

3. Remove bowl from microwave and add vanilla, peppermint oil and food coloring. Stir to incorporate into butter. Stir in your marshmallows and coat with butter. Make sure you measure the peppermint oil. This is different than peppermint extract. The oil is STRONG and a little bit goes a long way. I like using the oil because it doesn't have any fillers and it has a true peppermint flavor. Unless you get a good brand of extract, sometimes it tastes more like mint toothpaste than true peppermint.

4. Microwave on high for about 1.5-2 minutes, stirring in 30 second intervals. Once marshmallows have melted, stir in rice cereal. Stir completely until cereal in completely covered in the marshmallow mixture.

5. Butter your hands and press cereal treats into an even layer on your buttered cookie sheet.

6. Use a chocolate melter if you have one (it's like a mini crock-pot that melts chocolate and keeps it at a constant temperature). I have 2 of them and they are my favorite to use. I love that it keeps the chocolate at a constant temperature and I don't have to worry about using a double boiler or running the risk of my chocolate seizing in the microwave. If you can invest in one, I highly recommend it. It also works great for dipping chocolates. If you don't have one, then you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15-30 second intervals. It takes about 3-4 minutes and you want to make sure that you stir often. Use 2 separate bowls and melt the white and dark chocolate. Once your chocolate is melted, add in 1/8 tsp. peppermint oil into each bowl and stir. Add in a tsp at a time of oil into each bowl until it reaches your desired consistency. I like the chocolate a little runny so that it drizzles easier.

7. Drizzle dark chocolate and then white chocolate over cereal treats. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and then drizzle with remaining white and dark chocolate.

Chocolate Drizzles

8. Let the chocolate set and then cut into squares.
Plated with Pretzel Turtles

You can also arrange them in a bag and tie with ribbon for a quick gift.

Gift Idea

Enjoy and Happy Baking.

Here's the printable recipe.

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