Salty and sweet gets me every time. When I discuss this flavor combination with people, some seem disgusted. True, chocolate covered potato chips are adventurous; however, the clever combination of two popular snack foods is more delicious than you may think. What people don’t realize is the salty/sweet pairing pops up in everyday foods that almost everyone can agree on. The reputation of summer treats like caramel corn and even savory barbecue food relies on these two flavors. Non-seasonal favorites like peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzels are poster products for the genre.
Years ago, a co-worker shared with me a classic dessert with a delightfully surprising sweet and savory twist; it was truly a case of love at first taste. His crispy rice squares had been created with the perfect proportion of pretzel and chocolate pieces to produce a decadent version of a childhood favorite. Without asking for the recipe, I bought the ingredients at the grocery store that weekend and spent a day testing several versions of the marshmallow-ey mixture until the end result was just right.
Chocolate-Pretzel Crispy Rice Squares
3 tbsp. butter
1 bag mini marshmallows
4 cups Crispy Rice cereal
2 cups pretzels, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, plus additional for topping
Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until fully melted. Remove from heat and add dry ingredients and chocolate morsels, stirring after each has been added. Once marshmallow has been evenly distributed, pour mixture into 9” x 13” pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Using wax paper, press down until mixture is firm and even. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
If you’ve ever made the original crispy cereal and melted marshmallow confection, you can conquer this version. The hot, gooey concoction becomes more difficult to work with as you add the dry ingredients, so work fast and keep stirring; it’s normal for your arm to be a little sore! Once the dessert has cooled completely, I like to melt extra chocolate morsels to drizzle on top. Simply melt in the microwave for a few seconds and pour into a plastic sandwich bag. Cut one corner off, and squeeze the chocolate over the treats.
I didn’t think I’d live to see the day when this easy, classic dessert became even more delicious. This version covers several flavors that everyone can appreciate. The sticky marshmallow acts as the glue that melds the salty pretzels with the sweet chocolate, and though the butter is forgotten once it’s melted away it still peeks through enough in the end result to make each bite feel a bit more indulgent. These treats are incredibly addicting; the genius meeting of chocolate covered pretzels and puffed rice squares that can only be matched by taking bite of the two separate snacks at the same time.