Problems. We all have them and would like to avoid them as much as possible, which isn’t really possible at all. In the course of a day we are bound to encounter a dozen or more problems. The thing is, we have to separate them into good problems and bad problems.
There are the bad ones. Your car breaking down. A cell phone with no battery life left. A broken nail. A dead plant. A pen running out of ink. A computer crashing right in the middle of writing a document that hadn’t been saved. A recipe that doesn’t turn out how you expected. They range from really bad to just kind of bad, but they’re all bad and can easily ruin a day. We hope we don’t encounter too many of these on a daily basis or even over our entire lives, but no matter how hard we try and how many precautions we take, we’re bound to encounter some.
Then there are the good problems that tend not to be problems at all. Having to spend a gift card before it’s expired. Giving yourself a manicure to use up the last of a bottle of nail polish. Not having anything to do (I wish this was my problem sometimes). Having too many shows to watch on TV. Not being able to choose which movie to watch or restaurant to eat at. Having a bunch of leftover homemade caramel sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used.
While I’ve encountered many of these problems, I was recently faced with a bowl of caramel staring at me, waiting to be used. And you might be in the same bind if you’re following along with caramel week. I poured some over some frozen Apple Walnut Cake before wrapping it in parchment and thawing it in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes. That was heaven! I made another recipe, the final in caramel week, that you’ll see Saturday, but there was still plenty left and no matter what I did with it, I was not under any circumstances going to throw it away, because that was a problem I simply couldn’t live with.
So I thought about it for a few days and figured I’d try a no-bake cereal treat with the crazy hot weather. Because the only thing that could be better than a ton of marshmallows melted down to generously coat cereal is mixing a bunch of caramel into it as well. I eliminated the butter as there is plenty of butterfat in the caramel.
The end result was amazing. The flavor is very reminiscent of the Rice Krispy Treats we all enjoyed as children, but with a major grown up flare. The sweet marshmallows, the complex caramel, the crunchy cereal, the slightly salty peanuts. These bars are nothing but pure deliciousness.
A few notes about the recipe: I only added five cups of cereal, but if you don’t want the bars incredibly gooey and sticky, feel free to add a cup or perhaps even two more. I used lightly salted Planter’s peanuts because I don’t like salt, but any salted peanuts will do. I used regular and Peanut Butter Cheerios and think the mix really worked and is necessary. Using all regular Cheerios will result in a little bit of a grainy texture.
This is the perfect summer sweet treat for the whole family. It only takes a few minutes for everyone to be enjoying sticky, sweet goodness.
- 1 10.5 ounce bag Jet Puffed Mini Marshmallows (I highly recommend using this brand)
- 1 cup homemade Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup lightly salted peanuts
- 3 cups Cheerios
- 2 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
- Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment. Butter the parchment generously.
- Place the marshmallows and caramel in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring well between each session. It will take a couple of minutes to fully melt the marshmallows. Continue microwaving in increments until everything is completely melted and when stirred together forms a homogeneous mixture.
- Pour in the cereal and peanuts. It is okay to add the cereal a couple cups at a time to make stirring easier. Once the mixture is fully incorporated with the marshmallow mixture completely covering the cereal and peanuts, pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth it out with buttered fingers or spatula; this is a messy job. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days before cutting into bars and serving (though tasting while warm is entirely acceptable). May also be stored in the freezer, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for just a few minutes.