Make this sweet treat as a Halloween surprise for your kids to come home to or for your holiday event!
Rice krispie treats are a great healthy(ish) choice for dessert or an after-school snack. Why? Because they contain a lot less fat than other sweet treats. Marshmallows of course have a lot of sugar, but trace amounts of fat. And in this recipe, we use a smaller ratio of marshmallows to cereal, and add some flavorful spices and pumpkin puree! That means less sugar, more flavors, and even some veggies (or I think a pumpkin may actually be a fruit!?)! Adding the pumpkin seeds also helps add some additional health benefits to this traditional “sugar and carbs only” snack. So you can feel good about serving, and eating, these!
We Want Treats.. Not Tricks
Getting this recipe right can be a little tricky. But luckily I did all the messing up so you don’t have to! I had to try this one a few times before getting it just right. So to ensure you have a sweet treat to serve your kids or party guests and don’t end up with a terrible trick when they don’t turn out as planned, make sure you closely follow the recipe below, and read my tips here to know why.
The Moisture Problem
First of all, a lot of rice krispie recipes you see out there will call for a 1:1 ratio of marshmallows to cereal. But here I tell you to use only 4 cups of marshmallows, and 6 cups of cereal. That is because we are also going to be adding pumpkin puree (which has a lot more liquid in it than I realized!). And so we need to keep the moisture down as best we can so your treats don’t get soggy and chewy (chewy in a bad way). So our first tactic to accomplish this is using less marshmallows (hey – less sugar that way too, so it’s a win-win!).
Our second tactic to avoid too much moisture is to “dry out” our puree. I had no clue how much water was actually in pumpkin puree. But I set it on a paper towel, intending to leave it out for just a few minutes, and quickly saw just how much water was getting absorbed. So instead of just sitting it out on the counter, I actually took a second paper towel and placed it on top of the puree, pressing down on it to absorb extra moisture. I went through a few paper towels before I felt I had gotten enough out. It might seem weird at first, it did to me, and you will end up with what looks like a paper thin sheet of puree, but that is what you want! You don’t want that extra water from the puree making it to your treats.
Cooking the Marshmallows
The other main tip for this recipe is to cook your marshmallows on extremely low heat. Like I am talking put your stove all the way to where it actually says “low.” Yes it will take longer, but slowly cooking them allows them to melt properly so they re-solidify the best possible way. Consistently stir as you are melting.
Once the marshmallows have melted, you are going to slowly add your puree, that now looks like a sheet of paper. I added little chunks slowly and allowed them to melt in as I stirred, rather than just throwing the whole chunk straight in there. I think it allowed the puree to mix more evenly into the marshmallows.
The final tip for the marshmallows is to let them cool. Once you have added all of your puree and spices, take your mixture off the heat for at least 5-10 minutes. It won’t re-solidify, which is what I was originally worried about. But letting it cool will allow you to add the cereal without heating it up too much, causing it to get soggy and chewy. You want your cereal to stay crispy, it’s in the name of the snack!
Making Them Pretty
The last tip I want to mention is using parchment paper. If you want to be able to flatten your treats out in the pan so they are all the same size, you will want to have this on hand. If you try pressing with a spatula or your hands down on the pan, the rice krispies will stick and you won’t get that same “level-ness.” So this just helps make for a pretty presentation!
Now with these tips in mind you are ready to get going! Read below for the full recipe.
The perfect sweet and salty combo with all of the fall flavors! Feel free to play around with your flavors as well. Swap the seeds for some mini chocolate chips or toasted coconut (yum) or include all three! You can get as creative as you want with this recipe.
A fun Halloween idea could be to make your dish into a pumpkin shape for festive serving! Place these in a round pan rather than square, excluding a small amount of treat. Then transfer onto a plate, use the extra to form a little stem, add some chocolate chips to make eyes and a mouth, and make a jack-o-lantern face from your pumpkin spice treat!