Tag Archives: easy recipes

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Have you ever had Millionaire’s Shortbread? Called “millionaire’s” because it’s so rich, it’s a popular sweet in the UK, consisting of a buttery shortbread crust layered with homemade caramel and dark chocolate. It’s as delicious as it is beautiful to look at, and one of my favorite recipes that hasn’t made it onto this blog yet…though I have a sneaking suspicion it will before the year is out.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

For now though, I’m taking the Millionaire’s Shortbread look and flavors and pushing them in an easy no-bake direction, just in time for picnic season. Instead of using a shortbread crust, I’m swapping in a layer of Rice Krispies Treats!

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Oh, y’all, these Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats are so good! They’re super rich and delicious with an irresistible, chewy, crispy crust. And I mean, can we take a minute to admire these layers?!

Let’s take a look at each one. To start, I used my go-to Rice Krispies Treats formula. As a general rule, I use 1 tablespoon butter : 1 cup mini marshmallows : 1 cup cereal and round up as needed. I’ve doubled that formula to give the other layers a good thick base. If you like, you may use another formula (there are a zillion out there), but keep in mind that you want these Rice Krispies Treats to be sturdier than they are gooey to support all the other layers.

For the middle caramel layer, I decided to forgo the homemade caramel this time around, instead opting for a mix of melted soft caramel candies and cream. Some will sink into the nooks in the Rice Krispies Treats as it sets, while the rest will set smoothly to support the chocolate topping. Yum!

The top is the easiest layer of all three: dark chocolate and butter melted together until smooth and spread from edge to edge. Easy peasy.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

As with many no-bake treats, these are easy to make but take a fair amount of time since each layer needs to set up before the next can be added. The whole process can be done in a couple hours though (including setting time), so it’s no big deal. If you don’t have time to make these all in one go, you can take a few minutes here and there and assemble them at your leisure.

Once all the layers are set and chilled, it’s time to slice up the treats! Since these are so rich, I like to cut these pretty small (24 servings from an 8-inch pan), but do whatever makes you happy. While you need a few chills to set these treats properly, you may serve them cold or at room temperature. I like both, but am extra fond of the gooey caramel centers the room temp versions have to offer.

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats

Like I said above, I think these would be wonderful for picnics and other casual get togethers this spring. I took a batch to a meeting last week and they were *very* popular. More than one person said “I can’t believe you actually made these. They’re so good!” Just proof that you only need a tiny amount of effort for a dessert that looks and tastes like a million bucks!

Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats
Millionaire’s Rice Krispies Treats
makes one 8-inch square pan, about 24 treats

Rice Krispies Treats:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Caramel Filling:
16 ounces caramel candies (1 1/2 11-ounce bags, about 60 caramels)
6 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Chocolate Topping:
4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Butter a 8-inch square pan. Line it with parchment, leaving overhang on at least two sides for removal. Butter again.

Make the Rice Krispies Treats. Heat a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add butter and swirl to melt. Add mini marshmallows and salt, and stir constantly until melted. Remove pan from heat and stir in Rice Krispies cereal.

Transfer cereal to prepared pan. Use greased implements or hands (be careful—the mixture is hot!) to press the mixture into an even layer. Let cool completely.

Make the caramel filling. Combine caramels, heavy cream, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour caramel over the top of the Rice Krispies Treats and smooth to the edges. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes before transferring to the freezer for 30 minutes (or the refrigerator for 2 hours) to firm up.

Make the chocolate topping. Combine chopped chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted. Drop chocolate over filling and use a small offset icing spatula to carefully spread it over the caramel. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to the freezer until chocolate has hardened and the bars are chilled through, about 30 minutes (or 1-2 hours in the refrigerator).

Use parchment overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully remove and discard parchment. Use a lightly-greased sharp chef’s knife to slice into 24 pieces. For cleanest slices, wipe knife clean between cuts.

Treats may be served cold or at room temperature. They may be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For best storage, layer them with parchment or wax paper.

Malted Milk Blondies

Malted Milk Blondies

Due to time constraints, I had to slice into these Malted Milk Blondies before they had cooled completely, so they lack the clean edges I usually go for. But perfect aesthetics aside, look at these warm, malty brown sugar blondies full of chopped malted milk balls. Aren’t they magnificent?

Malted Milk Blondies

If you’re as completely over-the-moon about malted anything as I am, these are basically flawless. In addition to the softness and chew of a great blondie, they have a depth of flavor that can only come from a hefty scoop of malted milk powder. My favorite bites are the ones that have little bits of malted milk ball candy in them! Malt on malt on malt—if you know, you know.

Malted Milk Blondies

Besides being absolutely delicious, making Malted Milk Blondies is easy as can be! The batter comes together in minutes and bakes in half an hour. When it comes out of the oven, I like to dot the top of the blondies with more chopped malted milk balls for even more malt flavor (and some cuteness).

Oh yes, malt lovers. These are for you. They’re for us.

Malted Milk Blondies
Malted Milk Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup (1 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup malted milk powder
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
~1 1/4 cups roughly chopped malted milk balls candy (like Whoppers), divided

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside.

Make the blondie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and malted milk powder. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in 1 cup of roughly chopped malted milk balls.

Transfer the blondie batter into the prepared pan and smooth to throw edges. Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Red Velvet Blondies

Red Velvet Blondies​

When someone asks my favorite holiday, I usually say something expected like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but honestly? It’s Oscar Night. It’s always been Oscar Night. Lucky for me, it’s this weekend.

Half of you are probably clicking away or rolling your eyes (or both), but hear me out. People like what they like, and no matter how ABC or the Academy try to screw them up, I like the Oscars. I like the dresses, the pageantry, and the movies, and I especially like that I can’t remember ever missing a ceremony.

Red Velvet Blondies​

One of my absolute best friends and I are bonded over our love of Oscar, spending the entire calendar year discussing how things may or may not go, and then watching every film in every category before the big night (at the time of publishing, I have exactly three left). Technology has many drawbacks, but one of the great things it’s done for us is connecting with a whole community of people who are just as into awards season as we are—it’s the best.

While with other holidays there are prescribed ways to celebrate, Oscar Night is more of a “choose your own adventure” sort of occasion. You have to watch the show, of course, but any other traditions are completely up to you. Some have parties, some order Chinese food, some have no rituals and allow chaos to reign supreme. I stay home all day if possible, watch all the red carpet coverage, finalize my predictions, and make a Pesto-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese. Oh, and there has to be a red velvet dessert—red like the red carpet, obviously.

Red Velvet Blondies​

Last year’s offering was a Vegan, Gluten-Free Red Velvet Sheet Cake, but I’ve also done the traditional layer cake, a cookie cake, thumbprints, sandwich cookies, and cut-out cookies shaped like Oscars. This year, I’m going very simple—I’m taking an old recipe out of my archives and simplifying it just a tiny bit. Yep, you’ve seen these Red Velvet Blondies before, but they were covered in cheesecake! Today they’re just by their lonesome (+ white chocolate chips), but no less delicious. The first time I made these was for my 27th birthday picnic, and I’m turning 37 this year, so you know this recipe is tried and true!

Red Velvet Blondies​

Red Velvet Blondies come together in under an hour and don’t require a mixer. They absolutely hit all the red velvet marks, too. Aside from being a vibrant red, these bars are perfectly chewy, have the vanilla-chocolate flavor we know and love, and are stuffed to the gills with white chocolate chips! And yeah, I know Red Velvet Blondies with white chocolate chips don’t hit quite the same notes as Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, but they’re also less than half the work of a layer cake. As far as I’m concerned , that’s always a hit.

Red Velvet Blondies​
Red Velvet Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon gel)
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips + more for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Whisk in egg and yolk, followed by white vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in flour mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (no wet batter). If desired, dot the top with more white chocolate chips while bars are still warm.

Allow bars to cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Use parchment overhang to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice them into bars. Serve.

Red Velvet Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers​

Step aside, Cheez-Its! There are new cheese crackers in town! Oh yes, these Homemade Cheese Crackers have it all: they’re crispy, flaky, buttery, tangy, salty, and oh-so cheesy, just like the store bought version I love so much.

Homemade Cheese Crackers​

To that end, why should you go through the (minimal) effort to make Homemade Cheese Crackers when you can just go get a box of Cheez-Its? Well, for one, because it’s fun to DIY sometimes. And for two, because this recipe has seven ingredients, all of which are familiar and which include real cheddar cheese! No weird powders or preservatives here.

Besides the brick of cheddar, you’ll find butter, flour, salt, water, and dijon mustard for that signature cheese cracker tang. “But Liz, that’s only six ingredients!” Well, yes, that’s true. The seventh is the flaky finishing salt of your choice, which goes on right before baking for extra salty crunch!

This dough is a dream. It comes together in under five minutes in the food processor, doesn’t require a chill, and rolls and re-rolls flawlessly. I like to roll these crackers very thin (1/8”) and cut them in 1” squares. After being tiled out on a piece of parchment, I give each one a poke with the small end of a mixer attachment because I want each to have a visible hole, like Cheez-Its. You can also use a toothpick or prick each one with a fork—no matter what though, make sure these have some sort of vent so steam doesn’t build up during baking. We want crispy crackers, not soggy ones!

As for quantity, I don’t know the exact number of crackers this recipe makes, but it’s a lot. I’d guess at least the amount in a box of Cheez-Its, if not more. They also keep for up to a week, but I doubt they’ll last that long. They certainly don’t when I’m around.

Homemade Cheese Crackers
makes lots

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand (not pre-shredded!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons prepared dijon mustard
1/3 cup cold water
flaky salt, for finishing

Place oven racks in the central positions. Preheat oven to 400F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, grated cheddar, butter and mustard. Process until combined, with no large pieces of cheese or butter. Add water and process until dough starts to gather into a ball.

Flour your hands, a surface, and a rolling pin. Turn the dough onto the surface and give it a couple of kneads to combine. If you do not want to make crackers immediately, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to bake, you may roll it out cold or at room temperature.

Divide it in half. Loosely cover one half with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Roll the remaining half of the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife (or bench scraper) to cut it into 1-inch squares. Carefully transfer squares to the baking sheets. Poke each square with a toothpick or other object to let steam out. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

Bake crackers 15-16 minutes, rotating the pans at the 10 minute mark for even browning. Let crackers cool on the pans. They will fully crisp up as they cool. Repeat rolling and baking with remaining dough and scraps.

Crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a week.

Banana Crumb Muffins

Internet, meet my freezer stash of bananas. Freezer stash of bananas, meet the internet.

Banana Crumb Muffins​

These brown bananas have been taking up space in my freezer since Christmas and it’s time to clear them out for…well, honestly, probably more brown bananas. The cycle continues, but that’s beside the point.

(The point is to bake good things with bananas, obviously.)

Banana Crumb Muffins

Of all the things you can make with sad bananas, none will ever beat banana bread/muffins. I’ve posted several recipes for both over the years, and while they all have their strengths, I think these are my best effort yet.

I’ve been making this particular recipe weekly for nearly a year now; the people I work for love banana muffins. I make them with bananas from their freezer stash, throwing them in the microwave for a minute or two while I prepare the other ingredients, then squeezing the fruit into a bowl and mashing it to smithereens.

I throw 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips into the batter for work, but lately I am more interested in coffee cake-style crumb topping. I love its crispy texture and pop of buttery cinnamon flavor—it really takes these otherwise plain banana muffins to another level.

Banana Crumb Muffins are easy to make and really delicious. The batter is very straightforward—nothing out of the ordinary—and the crumb is just whisking some melted butter into flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until, well, crumbly. Break it up with your fingers and distribute it over the muffin batter, then bake until brown and a little craggy.

Banana Crumb Muffins

As with most banana baked goods, these are good the day they’re made, but great with a little time. That said, good luck keeping them around for more than a day or two.

Banana Crumb Muffins
Banana Crumb Muffins
makes 14-16 muffins

Crumb:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Muffin Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease or use muffin liners in 14-16 cups of a standard muffin tin. Fill the remaining cups 1/3-1/2 of the way with water (to keep the pan from warping in the oven). Set aside.

Make the crumb. In a small bowl, which together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and whisk until everything is saturated. It should be the texture of damp sand, holding together when pinched. Set aside.

Make the muffin batter. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and buttermilk, followed by eggs and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together just until combined. Batter will be thick.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling nearly to the top. Tap full pans on the counter 5 times to release large air bubbles. Scatter crumb over the top of the filled cups and press down lightly with your fingers to adhere.

Bake 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375F and bake another 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.