“Over the Hills and Far Away…” could have been the song that was playing in our children’s minds when it came time to visit Gran. Understandably, a child’s perception of a seven-hour car trip on a seemingly endless road may appear to be a daunting task …three kids and a bag of books in the back seat (no iPods, DVD’s, or devices). In spite of the spectacular autumn foliage of the Ottawa Valley and a scheduled pit stop at the Laurentian View Dairy Bar, nothing but the reminder of Gran’s Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats would be sufficient to cajole them into the car. Also possible was that they were experiencing flashbacks of former trips … the insanity of arriving in Montreal at the peak of Friday’s rush hour… the driver and navigator making wrong turns in their efforts to track down the correct bridge to the South Shore …someone in the back seat always getting the giggles, inciting frustration and frazzled nerves in the front seat …
The mirage of Gran’s driveway eventually became a reality and we had arrived … tired, grumpy, and not really liking any of our loved ones …and we were hungry. And, after dinner, as the children anticipated, Gran would unveil the coveted treats. Ahhh…it was all worth it.
One wonders if the Kellogg company had any inkling of the magic that would ensue upon breaking the seal of a simple box of Rice Krispies cereal! Since the original recipe came out in 1927, treat-makers have come up with numerous variations of this popular snack. And Mom Robertina (Gran) was no exception.
Her original recipe suggested using 6 cups of cereal, rather than the 4 cups noted here. Mothers of her generation were resourceful in finding ways to ‘stretch’ out foods to stay on budget (“Just add more water to the soup and let’s invite the neighbours for lunch.”). It is my understanding that as the boys got older, and financial pressures were not as severe, she gradually reduced the amount of cereal, making the treats much more chocolaty and chewy. …as my children remember…
CHOCOLATE RICE KRISPIE TREATS
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 2-5 minutes
Yield: 12 to 15 treats
1 cup (210 g / 250 mL) hard-packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) golden cane syrup
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cocoa powder, sifted
¼ teaspoon (1 mL) salt
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
4 cups Rice Krispie cereal
- In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, syrup, butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a full boil using medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
- Pour cereal into a large bowl. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and stir to thoroughly combine. Let the mixture cool slightly in the large bowl before putting it into a pan – stir it up often. This will ensure that the chocolate mixture adheres to the cereal rather than settling at the bottom of the pan.
- Pack into a lightly buttered baking pan…choose an 8×8 or 9×12 baking pan, depending on how thick you like to have your treats.
- Let cool thoroughly and cut into large squares or triangles.