Well, guys, after a short break over the holidays, I’m back on my recipe contest game. I feel like these contests are helping me grow as a cook/baker, and so I plan to continue entering contests that inspire me over the coming months. (If you’d like to read more about what I’ve learned from this hobby, you can check out the piece I wrote about my newly forged recipe contest fixation for Paste Magazine’s just-launched Food department.)
First up for 2015? An entry into The National Maple Syrup Festival’s Sweet Victory Challenge. You can enter as many recipes as you like (I have one other entry in mind in addition to this one) for a chance to win a bit of prize money ($200).
I’d been wanting to try a variation of Rice Crispy Treats for a while now, and felt like this was a good opportunity to mix up that traditional recipe a bit. I kept the marshmallow element in (after trying a batch without, I realized I definitely needed them to bind the treats together properly), but instead of butter used a combination of maple syrup and coconut oil.
The oil and syrup create a wonderfully nuanced flavor that adds a bit of sophistication to this dessert. I mixed half the batch with dried blueberries and the other half with Health bar pieces, and each were equally delicious (though different). Kevin preferred the blueberry version while my fave was the Heath bar.
Maple Syrup Rice Crispy Treats
- 3/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 7-ounce jars of marshmallow fluff
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 12-ounce box of crisped rice cereal (I used Target’s Market Pantry Toasted Rice cereal)
- Desired toppings
- Prepare a 9″ x 13″ brownie pan by cutting two pieces of parchment paper to cover the inside of the pan. Place one piece of parchment paper in the pan and put the other to the side.
- Place the syrup, coconut oil, and marshmallow fluff in a medium saucepan and combine over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for one minute.
- Remove boiled mixture from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
- Pour the cereal into a large mixing bowl and cover with the syrup mixture. Stir to coat fully.
- Stir in toppings as desired. I tried both crushed Heath bar pieces (1 8-ounce bag) and dried blueberries (6 ounces), and would recommend either one.
- Spoon cereal mixture into the prepared pan, distributing evenly throughout the pan.
- Take the second piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the cereal mixture, then press down firmly to pack down the cereal as tightly as possible. (Be sure to be thorough about this. The more firmly the bars are packed at this stage, the better they’ll hold together when done.)
- Place pan in the freezer for 45 minutes, then slice and enjoy. (Store remaining bars sealed in the fridge.)
(I hope to finalize my second entry into this contest in the next few days, and I’m excited to share that recipe with y’all as well! If all goes as planned, I think it will be a keeper.)