Marshmallows used to be a staple in my home, where we liked hot chocolate in the winter and rice crispy squares in the summer. Alas we grew up into vegetarians, and found out that the fluffy white pillows have a sinister side… gelatin. There are vegan versions of marshmallows which substitute other ingredients for gelatin, but are very expensive and hard to find. I do not lament the loss of marshmallows in my hot chocolate, but I do miss rice crispy squares.
One year, back when I was still playing with sticks and mud, my neighbour made a batch of crispy cocoa snacks which were like traditional crispy squares in texture, but chocolatey and made without marshmallows!! Joy! Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to ask for the recipe, and anyway I was too young to care about making my own food.
But now, after doing some light internet research, I was able to cobble together this recipe. To celebrate spring, I made bird’s nests filled with Cadbury mini eggs.
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 3, 1/2 cup rice krispies (or other cereal)
- 1/2 cup nuts
- Cadbury mini eggs (optional – see assembly notes)
Melt and combine vegetable shortening, chocolate, and corn syrup in a large heat-proof bowl. You can do this three different ways. There is the double boiler method, the home-made double boiler method, and the microwave. If like me, you don’t have a real double boiler, this is what I do; bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, lower the heat to let it simmer, and set a large metal bowl over the saucepan. It works like a charm because I can rest the bottom of the bowl on the top of the saucepan. I really would not recommend microwaving chocolate, but if you must, no one would stop you. Once you have a delicious goopy mixture, take it off the boiler and stir in the cereal and nuts.
To make bird’s nests, spoon into non-stick mini muffin tins, and press 2-3 Cadbury mini eggs into the middle. I found that just 2 eggs stick best. Refridgerate for an hour or leave them overnight. They can be extracted by using either a butter knife or small spoon.
You can also make other shapes, like balls, which can be dipped in white chocolate, or triangles, squares, stars…etc.