"Rice Crispy treats are my favorite medium for food art,” says Ashley Fox Whipple, the author of the new book, Super Cute Crispy Treats: Nearly 100 Unbelievable No-Bake Desserts. “They are fast and easy to make, malleable, and of course, they taste delicious and lend themselves well to various flavor combinations and enhancements.” Her book is filled with tips and creative crisped-rice treat variations, including chapters for treats on a stick, crispy treats for celebrations, and unique holiday creations like these Hot Cocoa Reindeer Treats.
Yield: Approximately 6 reindeer
Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level: Advanced
6 pretzel twists
15 pretzel sticks
2 tbsp margarine
2 3/4 cups (5 ounces [140 g]) mini marshmallows
1 1-ounce (28 g) packet hot cocoa mix
3 cups (75 g) chocolate crisp rice cereal
4 ounces (115 g) chocolate almond bark
Small candies for eyes and nose
1. Use a serrated knife to cut the pretzel twists in half for the antlers. Break pretzel sticks in half for reindeer legs and necks. Set aside.
2. Melt margarine over low heat in a 3-quart or larger saucepan. Add marshmallows, and stir. Let marshmallows melt completely, stirring occasionally. Stir in cocoa mix powder. Remove from heat.
3. Add chocolate crisp rice cereal and stir until completely covered with marshmallow. As soon as mixture is cool enough to handle, begin to form reindeer. For each, sculpt a small round ball for the head and a larger, more elongated shape for the body.
4. Using a microwave-safe dish, heat almond bark in microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted, stirring between each heating. (It is recommended to use High power level for first heating and switching to 50 percent power for subsequent heatings.) Gently press the pretzel antlers into each side of the heads. Use melted almond bark to affix the pretzel antlers and candy eyes and noses.
5. Insert 4 of the halved pretzel sticks into a reindeer body for legs and stand body up. Insert 1 of the halved sticks into the front of the body and gently slide head onto it, leaving some of the pretzel visible. If head is unsteady, secure pretzel to body and head with melted almond bark. Repeat for the rest of the reindeer. Store in an airtight container on countertop and serve within 24 hours.
Variation: For a slightly different look, dip the pretzel sticks in chocolate almond bark before you begin. This will give the legs a darker, smooth look.