After work on Saturday, Merri Ann (my wife) and I drove into the mountains east of Rigby, Idaho, for an evening hike.  We drove up a one-lane dirt road to where the road ended, a trail began, and steep canyon walls compressed a rambling brook tight against the trail.  We hiked through the narrows, past a fork, and then as the canyon opened, up through a mosaic of pines and aspen.  Already the understory was turning gold splashed with the red-bronze of wild geraniums.  The temperature was perfect and the sky an endless blue.  It was a very pleasant hike.   

 Weaver_Full-RedMaplesAfter a couple miles, the trail emerged from the trees to overlook a rounded amphitheater of a valley.  The far wall was so steep with rocky outcroppings that only a few pines found a toehold the scrabble but the floor below was lush and green with a quiet stream wandering in and out of the willows.  We sat on the bluff, talked quietly, and watched the valley below.  The sun was already behind the wall and the evening was cool without a breath of breeze and during interludes of conversation, you could hear the little stream tinkling across the rocks.  The shadows deepened, it was getting late, and we slipped away and headed back down the trail.

A squirrel carrying a pine cone scampered across the trail and then there was a movement in the bushes below the trail.  I pointed to young grouse wending its way through the stubby undergrowth.  Merri Ann soon spotted another, then another, and then a fourth.  They were close, maybe 20 feet away, and we quietly watched them in their naivety.  One of them fanned its tail revealing the tell-tale bands of a ruffed grouse.

“Pup, pup, pup,” came a quiet sound by the willows.  It was the hen, calling to her young.  Even this late in the season, she was not willing to give up her maternal instincts. 

“She sounds like bubbles popping,” exclaimed Merri Ann.  I smiled at the apt description.

Merri Ann and I enjoy trips to the woods.  Usually we pack chilled water bottles and snacks.  My wife can’t eat wheat which limits what snacks we can take.  Often it’s Rice Krispie Treats—but not ordinary Rice Krispie Treats®, grown-up Rice Krispie Treats.  These are Rice Krispie Treats made with white chocolate or marionberry jam or dried fruit and nuts.  We’ve developed a collection of these treats sophisticated enough to take to party.  (You can get the collection of free Rice Krispie Treat recipes here.)  We would like to share a couple of our favorites. 

Strawberry Jam Rice Krispies Treats Recipe

Once you have made these treats with jam, you’ll never go back to the plain variety. The jam adds sweetness and flavor to the cereal. (At one cup, it’s fairly subtle but we thought, just right.)  Of course, you can use jams other than strawberry.

 Weaver_Full-StrawKrispie

Ingredients

 4 tablespoons butter

4 cups miniature marshmallows

1 cup strawberry jam

6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal or equal

Directions

 Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

1. In a large pan on the stovetop, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows. Stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Add the jam and stir.

2. Add the rice cereal. Stir until the cereal is uniformly combined with the marshmallow mixture.

3. Remove the mixture to the buttered pan. Evenly distribute the mixture and press it down into the pan with buttered fingers, a piece of waxed paper, or a spatula. Let cool and cut into squares.

Cranberry White Chocolate Rice Krispies Treats Recipe

This is simply Rice Krispies Treats with added white chocolate chips and dry cranberries. The white chocolate melts into the marshmallow mixture and makes for a much richer and very attractive bar.  This is very suitable for guests. It is  nearly as simple as the original recipe.

Look for white chocolate chips made with cocoa butter instead of vegetable or coconut oil.

Weaver_Full-WhiteCranKrispie

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter

4 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 tablespoon good quality vanilla

1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal or equal

3/4 cup dry cranberries

Directions

Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

1. In a large pan on the stovetop, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows. Stir until the mixture is melted, hot, and smooth. Add the vanilla.

2. Add the white chocolate chips, rice cereal, and cranberries. Stir until the cereal is uniformly combined with the marshmallow mixture.


3. Remove the mixture to the buttered pan. Evenly distribute the mixture and press it down into the pan with buttered fingers, a piece of waxed paper, or a spatula. Let cool and cut into squares.

Baker’s notes:

The white chocolate chips will melt in the hot marshmallow mixture.  If you use a large enough pan, you can mix the treats right in the pan, not in a bowl.  The hot pan makes it a little easier to stir the mixture together and there is less cleanup.

Dennis is the founder and general manager of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho, a full-line kitchen store and online retailer of food, baking mixes and ingredients, and kitchen tools.  The Prepared Pantry sells over 250 different baking mixes including great focaccia, bread, and cookie mixes for your picnic.