Posted on January 2nd, 2013
Happy New Year.
Now, we settle into the long haul of winter. The days are short and dark, and the wind bitter. The Pacific Northwest is kissed with more rain than snow but we, too, have an acquaintance with Jack Frost, enough to make the outdoors seem undesirable. The garden is deep asleep, and the indoor plants stop responding, too starved for sun. It’s enough to drive a girl stir-crazy. But we can cook, and craft, and bake.
Let’s start with something simple.
6 cups marshmallows
4 cups rice krispies
2 cups macadamia nuts, shaved
3 tbsp butter
Most of the work in this is in shaving the macadamias. I’ve seen variations that call for coarsely chopping the nuts and that’s fine if you prefer the texture of bits of nut in your mouth. I prefer to enjoy the sweet nutty flavor without the bits. Macadamia nuts have a ridiculously high oil content, so much so that attempts at a fine chop usually result in shaving anyway.
Another benefit of shaving the macadamias is that they’re quite beautiful. If you plan to top these with any fondant or chocolate, then shave a little extra macadamia to sprinkle on top as garnish. I think that would be beautiful.
The rest is simple and typical. Melt the butter, then mix with marshmallows to coat. Microwave for 45 seconds and stir. Microwave again until marshmallows are fully melted, about 20-30 more seconds. Mix with rice krispies and macadamia nuts, then press into a pan and refrigerate. Cut ‘n serve.
Shawn suggested that I roll balls instead of cutting rectangular fingers, but I found the marshmallow was so sticky that I only made a mess. It was only later that I slapped my forehead and realized that I needed to coat my hands in confectioner’s sugar first! Like flour, confectioner’s sugar can help reduce the surface stickiness of a recipe for easier molding. You might bear that in mind as you’re pressing your crisps into the pan, should you struggle to extract yourself. Believe me, it makes the whole thing much more manageable. Next time, I’ll try my hand again at making little balls. I think that would be adorbs.
Optional: I dipped mine in two chocolates this year: white and then tipped in milk. They turned out very well, but it was fun and challenging trying to get the consistency of the melted chocolate just right. Straight up was way too intense, and so I thinned them with Crisco. Not proud of that, either; If I’m going to go old-school, I prefer to go pre-1950s. But, in truth, there is no substitute I can find for Crisco. Yet.
Besides, this whole recipe is right out of Betty Crocker. I mean, you use a microwave for heaven’s sake. So in the end, I shrugged it off and added the Crisco. I do wish I could figure out a substitute, though. After all, this recipe could easily be made with a stove, and not a microwave, and while marshmallow and butter and oil aren’t the most healthful of ingredients, at least we know what they are and what they do to our bodies. Microwave heat and Crisco, though, not so much.
I also wish I had taken more time to really temper the chocolate instead of being half-assed and lazy about it. Tempering chocolate entails melting it to a high temperature (~115 degrees) and then letting it cool to a warm temperature (90 degrees) and then heating it up again. It stabilizes the cocoa butter or something, and allows the surface of the final product to achieve that glossy shine you see on really good chocolate dips.
Anyway. I will tell you that these things taste delicious and they take so little time to put together. Even if you don’t got all decorative on them, the macadamia gives them just a little extra something to elevate this traditional child’s treat into the realms of grown up.