Rice Krispies Treats are a classic snack or dessert for many reasons -- the portable bar of crunchy yet gooey marshmallowy delight is beloved by children and adults alike. Unlike many baked goods that take a bit of time and preparation to make, Rice Krispies Treats are extremely easy to whip up at home. The classic childhood snack doesn't require any baking and only consists of a few ingredients that you likely have sitting in your pantry already. Like many baked goods, homemade versions of this crispy rice cereal and marshmallow treat are often superior to the store-bought versions. You can elevate yours with the addition of a secret ingredient that is often a pantry staple: Vanilla extract. This sweet-smelling ingredient is the key to unlocking the best Rice Krispies treats you've ever had, even compared to store-bought options.
The box of Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats that you can snag at your local grocery store may seem like the ideal choice to satisfy your cravings, but these premade treats are often made with additives like corn syrup, oils, and artificial flavorings to add sweetness and keep the snacks from going bad while they sit on store shelves. For those who want to eliminate as many preservatives and chemicals as they can from their everyday snacks, consider preparing these treats at home. Luckily, adding a dash of vanilla extract to your at-home Rice Krispies Treats recipe will maintain that store-bought sweetness more naturally.
Make Your Rice Krispies Treats Stand Out
Whether you've signed up for the school bake sale or you're longing for a taste of childhood, making Rice Krispies Treats is a great way to satisfy a crowd without the stress of baking for hours. Rice Krispies Treats only require a few basic ingredients: marshmallows, butter, a pinch of salt, and crispy rice cereal. If you want a way to elevate your no-bake treats, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to your marshmallow and butter mix. The vanilla flavoring will bring out the natural sweetness in the other ingredients without altering their flavors in any way.
Vanilla extract is used in a lot of baked goods, even those that don't taste anything like vanilla. While the extract can bring out that sweet, subtle flavor of vanilla beans, professional baker Jean Blacklock told HuffPost that vanilla can also "[enhance] the flavor of other ingredients in more complex recipes. In a chocolate cake, for example, you don't taste the vanilla but without it, the cake would not be as flavorful." Vanilla extract does the same thing to Rice Krispies Treats, by elevating the existing flavors in the marshmallows, butter, and salt. The additional ½ teaspoon of liquid also won't affect the texture in any way, but it will provide an extra bite of sweetness that is a welcomed addition to the sticky treat.
Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
Vanilla is a classic flavor profile that almost everyone can enjoy in everything from ice cream to scented candles. Although you probably have your favorite flavors, such as chocolate or strawberry, there is no denying vanilla's iconography. But in recent years, vanilla has been in short supply, according to published reports. From 60% to 80% of the world's vanilla comes from Madagascar, which has been struggling with natural disasters, deforestation, and other obstacles that can directly affect vanilla bean production. Because of this, real vanilla and its products can sometimes be hard to find on store shelves. For bakers who rely on real vanilla extract as their secret ingredient in goodies like Rice Krispies Treats, it might be worth learning how to make vanilla extract at home.
Homemade vanilla extract is surprisingly simple to make, but it does take some time. All you need are a few vanilla beans, a bottle of vodka, and some clean bottles with airtight lids. Split your vanilla beans in half with scissors or a knife and submerge them into a bottle filled with vodka. Give it a good shake every so often, and about one month later, your vanilla extract will be ready to use. Keep in mind that the alcohol in vanilla extract evaporates while baking, so you don't need to worry about finding a sober driver after enjoying a Rice Krispies Treat or two.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.