My journey to rice whiskey treats started with a request for bacon desserts, actually. I tried making the classic Rice Krispie Treat recipe with chopped bacon stirred in (and bacon fat in place of the butter), and while they weren’t BAD, they weren’t great, either. They had two distinct flavors, bacon and marshmallow sweetness, at the same time but not at all married together. My boss suggested a hint of liquid smoke, which I worried would overwhelm the other flavors, and someone else suggested a bit of bourbon. Bourbon! Now we were on to something.
When I googled it, I discovered this was already A Thing. Whiskey in Rice Krispie Treats!?! I made them straight up, no bacon, to test the idea with my coworkers. This is the recipe I used: Makers Markmallow Treats
They were a HUGE hit. No one even cared about the bacon any more… They just wanted more rice whiskey treats. As soon as possible. The original recipe had one minor drawback, which was a change in consistency due to the extra liquid from the whiskey. They tended to be a bit too sticky and soft, so they fell apart at room temperature. Don’t get me wrong- it did not take long for these to go from plate to mouth, so no one was complaining, but I still wanted something that would hold together better.
I played around and found a few different methods of alleviating this problem. When I make them now, I do some combination of these options:
- Reduce the butter called for in the original recipe.
- When melting the marshmallows, put them over medium heat instead of low and allow them to get hot enough to actually bubble. (If you’ve ever done this by accident when making RKT, you’ll recall you ended up with incredibly hard, brittle, nearly inedible treats. Mixing in a little more liquid helps to break up the hard sugar chains forming when the marshmallow gets that hot, so they end up in that happy medium consistency.)
- When adding the whiskey to the melted marshmallow goo, scrape a path in the marshmallow so that the whiskey hits the bottom of the hot pan as you pour it in. The whiskey will sizzle and burn off some of the alcohol, which both reduces the liquid you’re adding and also reduces the alcohol burn in the flavor of the final treats. (My coworkers like that full boozey assault, so when I’m making treats for them, I pour the whiskey over the top of the marshmallow and mix it in slowly to minimize the burn off. Then to make sure the treats hold together, I’ll do options 1 and 2 above.)
Rice Whiskey Treats:
10 oz bag of mini marshmallows
3 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon (if you have several types, I think Saigon is better than Ceylon here)
2 tbsp whiskey/whisky/bourbon
6 cups crispy rice cereal
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the marshmallows, stirring constantly, and heat until melted and just starting to bubble. Remove pan from heat.
- Stir in cinnamon and whiskey (see note 3 above about how much alcohol burn you want in your treats)
- Add rice cereal and stir/fold until evenly coated.
- Pour into greased casserole dish or onto a sheet of parchment paper and press firmly with another sheet of parchment paper. Strong, even pressure also helps these treats keep their shape, so if you’re pressing between two parchment sheets, use one hand to hold the edge vertically while your other hand presses down. (I could have sworn that when I was a kid, my mom used to press RKT between two sheets of wax paper, but when I tried that, the wax paper stuck to the treats and shredded, and I ended up eating more wax paper than I would have preferred.)
- Chill in the fridge until firm before cutting. If your knife get sticky while cutting, try swiping each side of the knife with a stick of butter before cuts.
Rum/Toffee: For crunchy rum treats, replace the whiskey with an aged rum, leave out the cinnamon, and sprinkle 1/4 cup Heath bar pieces (or other butter toffee bits) into the mix when you add the cereal.
Mocha treats: Replace the whiskey with coffee liqueur, replace the cinnamon with instant espresso powder, and mix in 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips when you add the cereal.
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