There were plenty of very appealing recipes to pick from. I strongly considered Overnight Holiday Dinner Buns, Moist Almond Bread, and Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes, and will probably make all three very soon. The recipe I ended up choosing was Chocolate Apricot Marshmallow Crunch: Rice Krispie treats topped with mini marshmallows and diced up dried apricots. Why have I never thought of putting apricots on Rice Krispie Treats? The combo just sounded amazing, and I was already looking for a dessert recipe to try, so the choice was simple.
How did they turn out? Every bit as good as I hoped! My husband and I were happy I made a double batch. I'm also grateful for the trick I learned from Laura- use parchment paper to press down the cereal mixture and the topping! It won't stick and works much better than a spoon or hands. Why didn't I think of that before? The funniest part is that a few hours before I made these treats, my own mom called and in the course of the conversation, she mentioned that parchment paper was awesome for pressing sticky Rice Krispie Treats into the pan. So, thank you to both Mother Would Know and my actual mother!
My tiny changes were to not soak the apricots in juice because the chewy texture of the plain apricots appealed to me, and I added vanilla extract, because why not? Regardless, what a fun and slightly different dessert choice for any time of year, but especially autumn/Halloween because of the colors. I actually chose them in part because of the colors. We live in Alaska and I love it here, but the end of summer is always sad and a tiny bit panic inducing as we gear up for another 6+ months of nonstop snow and cold. I make a real effort to to try to get excited about autumn: wintry foods, Halloween movies, fall decorations, etc. These Rice Krispie Treats fit in perfectly. Thank you, Laura, both for the great recipe and for helping ease the transition into fall!
Chocolate Apricot Marshmallow Crunch
1/2 C finely diced dried apricots
1/3 C mini chocolate chips
3 Tbsp butter
8 oz mini marshmallows (by weight)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 C Rice Krispies cereal
Cut two long strips of parchment paper to fit the inside of an 8 by 8 baking dish with a few inches of overhang on each end. Overlap the strips so they make a + sign in the dish. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat, then add marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, just until marshmallows are melted. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, then the cereal.
Once the cereal is completely coated, dump it into the prepared baking dish and press it in evenly with the back of a spoon. You can use the parchment paper ends to press the mixture down, too. Sprinkle the apricot pieces and mini chocolate chips evenly over the cereal mixture. Use the long ends of parchment paper to firmly press the topping down.
Let set for a couple of hours until cutting into pieces to serve- you can use the parchment paper overhang to lift the Rice Krispie Treats out of the dish and then cut them into serving pieces.