Puffed Rice Possibilites!

Go Beyond Rice Krispies and try a new spin on the traditional favorite!


How? Use Chewy Puffed Rice in place of the Rice Krispies...You'll love the change, I promise! 

I developed some of these recipes for a cooking segment I did on a local TV program called "Studio 5" that airs here in UT, but the basic recipe has been in my repertoire of treats since I was a child. I don't know why my mom made "Rice Krispy Treats" with puffed rice instead of "Crisped" rice, all I know is that I loved it. And continued to love it as an adult, except that I added my favorite dessert extract to the mix...ALMOND. Oh yes, it takes the flavor sensation to a whole new level, my friends. 

One thing I really want to point out is that this mixture, vs. the traditional Rice Krispie treats, is REALLY soft and chewy. Additionally, the very malleable nature of it makes it very easy to form, mold and shape...even long after it is made. You really can't say the same thing about the traditional version.  Plus, it stays fresh for DAYS! I'm not kidding...I have some that I made last week to do my pics with, and it still tastes good 5 days later. It's soft and chewy still!


Here is a photo I took at the studio showing all of the things I demonstrated and talked about during the TV segment:



 As you can see, in addition to the "Basic" recipe, I created some other tasty treats and concoctions for the TV segment. They were a big hit with the staff and crew at the studio. I am including the recipes at the end of the post. And now....for your enjoyment....the goods:


First up: The "Faux-Nut". 


Yes, that's right. We are playing with words, ie: Pretend Donuts. I daresay that you might like them just as well as a regular donut...and for those that are eating "Gluten Free"...these will just toot your sweet-craving horn (If made with the basic recipe and nothing added). Aren't they just the CUTEST?? All you need is a Baked Donut pan, the basic recipe (or heck, add some other flavors to it and make it your own delightful flavor combination!), some glaze or icing, and of course...cute sprinkles!! (How DID our grandmothers ever survive without the amazing plethora of sprinkles that exist in our world today?)

(Speaking of sprinkles, I am just now noticing some errant mini pearls that made it on to my polka dot topped donut...note to self, separate the sprinkle tribes to another area when liberally shaking said sprinkles. It appears they like to migrate. How embarrassing). 

   So now we are on to the "Seasonal" item that I created for the show..."Faux Apples"! Yes, it's true. (Everything is faux today. Including my hair color. Haha. But that's beside the point!) Aren't these just perfect for Back-to-School and Bake Sales? Yes, they are. And when I was making these, I thought to myself that I WISH I had thought to buy some Green Apple flavoring because that really would make them PERFECT. Oh, and some caramel to dip them in (project forthcoming....).


The shaping of the apple takes a little practice, but they really do come together quite quickly. May I share some helpful tips with you? (Make sure to watch the video link because then you can see me do an apple in the video). 


~Tip #1: Make the ball very compact  and tight before you start shaping.


~Tip #2: Create a narrow base at the bottom, making it look a little like a lightbulb. Then place you apple onto a flat surface and with the heel of your palm, press "down" on the top and "out". Now reshape the entire apple until you get a shape you like. 


~Tip #3: You can indent at the top to create a place for the stem to sit. If you get your hole too large, just use some of the extra mixture to fill that area in.


~Tip #4: Mid-size pretzel rods (Snyders makes some) broken in half, are the perfect size for the stem. 


  ~Tip #5: For the leaves, you can do a number of things. On the example above, I used green licorice twists, cut in half down one side, and then rolled as flat as I could get them. I then freehand cut leaf shapes with a sharp knife. You can also use that crazy colored "Fruit Roll-ups". OR, what I ended up using (and you can see in the top pic) is a new products that I found called "Rips". They are bite-sized licorice pieces that are already flat, textured and sugared for a little extra cuteness. I found them in the candy section.  I just cut them the same way as the other licorice pieces, but they saved a lot of time in production.


During the segment, you'll notice that we made apples with red colored puffed rice treats. I discovered for both colors that I needed more food coloring than I originally thought. But, I also found that giving them a little spray with the Wilton Food Spray in a few spots around the apple made it look more realistic. I didn't end up showing that tip during the segment, just be aware that you can do that if the apple color looks too "flat" to you. I got the spray at Hobby Lobby with a coupon and they ended up being about $2.50 a can. 


Shaping little pumpkins for Halloween would be a breeze too! Hint, Hint!


Now we move along to another shaped item, which is the Granola Bites. Rather than shaping these in a ball, you could just press the finished mixture into a pan and cut them in squares.


My husband is in love with these little guys. He was really happy when I came home with the base that I made on the show yesterday, because it means a whole new batch for him! I think next time I make this, I will add some vanilla protein powder to the marshmallow mix to get him some extra nutrition. He could even have them as a meal replacement at that point (because he eats 3 at a time)!



The last item I made is a total departure from the other recipes. Instead of being soft and chewy, this recipe is hard and crunchy. But not it a dried and stale, dried-out kind of way. This is called "Kurmura Chikki", and it's a traditional East Indian snack. Chikki means "Brittle", so this is essentially Puffed Rice Brittle. But I call it Chikki because it just sounds more fun. 



I added my own touch to my recipe formulation by including Sesame Seeds AND Sesame Oil in with the Ghee (which is essentially Clarified Butter). Please see the recipe for exact directions. You'll be surprised how much this resembles an oven-baked Caramel Corn.


Lastly, my #1 tip for dealing with any version of this recipe....SPRAY YOUR HANDS REALLY WELL WITH COOKING SPRAY before touching the mixture. Trust me on this one. You will thank me.


Enjoy your own Culinary Adventures! Here are the Recipes:


Basic Puffed Rice “Crispies”

1/2 cup Coconut Oil (or butter if you choose, but use ½ the amount)

2/3 package of Marshmallows (or a full 10oz package)

1 tsp Almond Extract

Food coloring, optional

6 -7 cups Puffed Rice (Regular or Brown)

Melt coconut oil and marshmallows in microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to combine, and add extract. Pour over puffed rice until combined. Shape as desired.

Note: If adding food coloring, it’s best to add it when you add the extract if you want an even coloration. Mixing it in after the cereal is added makes for a very mottled appearance, which may be helpful for certain applications. You can also use spray colors or luster dust to add color and definition.

When shaping, use liberal amounts of cooking spray or coconut oil on your hands to assist in the process. 


Salted Cashew and Chocolate Granola Bites

5 cups Brown Puffed Rice (or regular if you choose)

1 cup Trader Joe’s Chocolate and Almond Granola Clusters

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup Cocoa Krispies

½ cup Coconut Chips (Costco) or regular coconut flakes, if preferred

½ cup Cashews (salted or unsalted)

½ cup Chocolate Chips (freeze first to keep from melting too much)

¼ cup Chia Seeds (optional, and reserve)


½ cup Trader Joe’s Cashew Butter (or Peanut or Almond, if preferred)

¾ tsp Fleur de Sal Salt (or Sea Salt)

2/3 bag of Marshmallows (or a full 10 oz package)

Combine all dry ingredients. Melt marshmallows, salt and cashew butter in the microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir well to thoroughly combine. If desired, add the Chia Seeds after everything else is stirred together so they don’t sink to the bottom and end up in a clump.

Add to the dry mixture and toss until blended. Form into tightly compacted balls while still warm. (Cooking spray sprayed onto hands is very helpful for this step).


Indian Puffed Rice Brittle (Kurmura Chikki)

1 cup Brown Sugar (Light/Golden)

1 cup Filtered Water

¼ cup Ghee (Clarified Butter)

½ tsp Dark Sesame oil, optional

3 ½ cups Puffed Rice

½ cup Sesame Seeds

Heat oven to 400°.

Spread Puffed Rice on a shallow baking sheet, and bake for 18 minutes. This step is just to dry it out and make it more crispy before adding the sugar syrup, but leave the oven on after you take it out.

In a large and heavy bottomed pan, add the brown sugar to the water, but do not stir. Let sit until the sugar has dissolved on it’s own.  Bring to a boil, and cook until it reaches the “Soft Ball stage” (235°-240°). Immediately stir in the Ghee and sesame oil.  Pour the puffed rice into the sugar syrup and mix well. Toss in the sesame seeds. Pour all into the same baking sheet you used earlier and bake for 7 minutes. BE CAREFUL! Sugar Syrup is very dangerous and will burn you badly if you get it on your fingers! Let cool completely (about an hour) and then “break” into large pieces.

No comments: