When my children were little, I found a different type of Rice Krispie treat recipe that immediately replaced the tried and true Rice Krispie Treat of my own childhood. The recipe was offered in conjunction with some plastic molds that I purchased from one of my favorite local stores, Kitchen Kneads. I still have two molds that I purchased over 20 years ago–a heart and a bear. The idea of the molds was simple: tightly pack them with the crispy rice cereal mixture and then turn the newly formed treat out onto wax paper to cool.
There were lots of different molds and my friends and I LOVED to make the new crispy rice treats for our kids. I don’t know how many bear-shaped treats I made for my children and their friends over the years, but it was in the hundreds or maybe even the thousands!
In preparing for this post, I attempted to find the molds and offer a link to them here. Mouldings, the Salt Lake City based company that made them, apparently is out of business. 🙁
However, Overstock.com has a set of eight molds for $19.99. There are some fun shapes in the set. (Keep reading to find out how to use standard cookie cutters for this same recipe!) (Update: 2/18/14 I found an LA Times article from April 13, 1989 which talks about the Moulding company and the popularity of their plastic molds.)
Update: 3/11/2015 After checking the Overstock link, the molds are no longer available through them. A reader, Nicole, found them through Amazon by CK products at this link.
Additionally, ebay has individual molds (or ‘Moulds’ as the manufacturer originally called them). I scored a set of four, new, unopened Christmas molds complete with recipes on the back of the package! One of the recipes is the same as the one which I used to make treats for my family. I used to have the recipe on one of those free “tear-off” recipe papers that are often found next to a promotional item. Because I had used the recipe so often, my paper was stained and sticky, so I had typed the recipe into my computer.
Over the years since my children grew up, I had sort of forgotten about the recipe. Then one day recently my daughter asked in a longing voice, “Moooooommmmm, do you still have that recipe for those rice crispy treats that I used to like so much? I waaaaannt them so bad!” This was accompanied by one of those looks that says ‘I shall surely die if you do not still have that recipe’.
I did happen to have the recipe, still saved away on my computer. I can’t believe how my recipes have made it from computer to computer over the years. Anyone remember the good old days of floppy disks? I used to haul around my recipes on those as well, just waiting for the inevitable computer crash which would wipe out my treasures of information.
Because the molds are now difficult to come by, I had to use an alternative method of turning these Caramel Rice Krispie Treats into Valentine’s day treats. Squares are great for an everyday shape, but seasonal shapes are great, too. Metal cookie cutters are the perfect answer. Here’s an interesting tidbit of info for you. Out of a single batch of Caramel Crispy Rice Treats, I got the same number of treats from the molds as I did from the cookie cutters. There was no wasted cereal mixture with the molds. 🙂 Wait. Actually there is no waste with the cookie cutters; there are cutouts plus nibbles.
I used several different heart shaped cookies, but in the end, it didn’t really matter which shape of heart I had used. The treats came out looking about the same from cookie cutter to cookie cutter. It is important to use metal cookie cutters when cutting out these treats. The plastic cookie cutters were not strong enough or deep enough to cut through the treat bars.
The treats can be left plain, but it is fun to decorate them. The treats can be dipped in colored or flavored candy melts. Be sure to have some Valentine’s day sprinkles on hand, as well, for giving a fun pop of texture and color on the candy melts. I would suggest not using colored sugars. I tried them and they simply got lost in the chocolate. Jimmies work well, as do nonpareils and other sprinkles.
Have fun with this recipe. The cookie cutter concept has many applications for holidays, birthdays, athletic events, etc. The recipe is easy and makes about 24-26 treats. However, if cutting into squares, you will get approximately 60-70 squares.
In a 4-quart pot, melt the butter and stir in the corn syrup and brown sugar.
Over medium heat, bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for three minutes. Remove from heat source. As I was standing at the stove stirring this sweet bit of deliciousness, it suddenly occurred to me that this is pretty much the same recipe I used for Caramel Butter sauce and Spiced Caramel Butter Sauce. Why has that fact never registered in my brain? I started making the Caramel Butter Sauce long before I found this recipe for Caramel Crispy Rice Treats.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir well. Return the pot to the heat (medium) and continue to cook and stir while mixture returns to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly for another 3 minutes. Turn off heat and remove pot from burner.
Using hot pads to hold the pot, carefully, but quickly, pour the hot caramel mixture over the crispy rice cereal.
Mix the cereal and the caramel sauce together until well blended. Work quickly.
Put half of the cereal mixture into each prepared pan. Spread evenly and press firmly into place.
To help press the cereal mixture evenly in the pan, butter the outside bottom of a baking pan and place the baking pan on top of the cereal mixture. Press firmly all over the inside bottom of the top pan.
Using the above method for pressing the cereal mixture with another pan works well to make the cereal mixture compact and smooth.
If using cookie cutters, spray the cutters with cooking spray and cut out the shapes while the cereal mixture is still warm. Work quickly because it is much easier to cut through the cereal while it is warm. In order to keep the second pan warm while working on the first pan, place it in a warm oven, about 150-degrees F until ready to use. You may need to allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes after moving from the oven if it is too hot and soft with which to work.
Cookie cutter hand. I need to get some of those cookie cutters with the protected edge. Word to the wise, place a small wash cloth over the cookie cutter to protect your hand as you push the cookie cutter through the cereal mixture.
Scraps. You know what to do with these, right? Plastic bag. Secret hiding place. Tell no one.
Decorate as desired. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.
Random event. I’m blaming the store brand crispy rice cereal company for engineering such a poorly designed bag. It said “tear here” and had perforations all the way across the top of the bag. I “tore there” and the bag not only tore at the top, it also continued down the side of the bag.
It may be Winter and cold, my house may have crispy (crushed) rice cereal all over the kitchen floor, the world may be spinning wildly out of control, but I have beautiful orchids on my counter top.
And two full batches of these hanging out at my house. I am going Valen-treating tomorrow and give most of these a new home with children who will love them.
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