POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 27, 2010
I admit a certain fondness for Rice Krispies Treats. Gooey yet crunchy, they somehow encourage happiness. So when Carol Hiroe wrote in search of a recipe for a variation on this all-American treat, I saw a good excuse to make lots, pass them on to my friends and spread the joy.
Hiroe was after a specific formula -- for Ono Bites, sold at a little candy kiosk in Pearlridge Center. Instead of being made with melted marshmallows and butter, these are made with peanut butter, she said. "We have tried to analyze by tasting, but we are missing something."
June Wong, owner of JJ Sweets & Gifts, says she inherited Ono Bites when she bought the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Co. in 2008, then renamed the shop and moved it from Waikele Premium Outlets to Pearlridge. The treat is made with crisp rice cereal, peanut butter and white chocolate, studded with miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips. It's a top seller, and she preferred not to give out the recipe.
Wong didn't seem to mind, though, if I pursued a taste-alike recipe, and I figured, how hard could it be? Rice Krispies Treats are so simple little kids make them.
One week, three experimental batches and $12 worth of white chocolate chips later, I can tell you it was a little tricky. None of the recipes I found tasted quite right. Also, you can't simply sub out the marshmallow-butter base of the original recipe for white chocolate and peanut butter. The mixture comes out thick and stiff -- difficult to work with, and your krispies become crumblies. Also, if your mixture is too warm when you fold in the marshmallows and chocolate chips, they melt. Not acceptable.
But it wasn't brain surgery, so in the end I did come up with a reasonable facsimile. It's more peanut-buttery than a real Ono Bite, but it is tasty -- a good addition to a Halloween snack spread. Anyone looking for a perfect match could try a little less peanut butter and more white chocolate. Or go to JJ, at the top of the escalator at Pearlridge Downtown.
I am done experimenting, however. You can foist only so many Rice Krispies experiments on your friends before they begin to wonder about you.
A few tips for making any type of Rice Krispies bar: Use baker's parchment to line your pan. Let the parchment extend over the sides to make it easy to lift out the sticky treats. Also, a light coating of vegetable oil on the hands prevents sticky fingers when working the cereal mixture.
10-ounce bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup white chocolate chips
3-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
Set aside 1/2 cup marshmallows. Place the rest in large microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and peanut butter. Microwave on high in 1-minute increments, stirring after each minute, until smooth.
Add white chocolate and stir until melted. Gradually add cereal, stirring until cereal is evenly coated. (If mixture gets too stiff, work it with your hands.)
Line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with baking parchment or foil. Press half the cereal mixture into pan. Let cool slightly.
Dot surface with reserved marshmallows and milk chocolate chips. Cover with remaining cereal mixture, pressing gently. (The cereal should be cool enough that it doesn't melt the chocolate and marshmallows but still soft enough to mold in place.) Let cool completely, then cut into bars.
Nutritional information unavailable.