From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won.
Today: Assistant culture editor Katie Johnson takes a stab at it.
If the commercialization of fall has taught us anything, it's that you can make any food, beverage, or condiment taste like pumpkin -- including the oh-so-easy, oh-so-classic Rice Krispies Treat.
Traditionally made with a spatula in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Rice Krispies Treats are the go-to grub of impromptu playdates, last-minute bake sales, and now your half-assed Halloween provisions.
Ingredients 6 cups Rice Krispies (a standard size box will be more than enough) 1 bag mini marshmallows (the original recipe called for a 10 oz. bag but I'd suggest throwing in a little extra) 1/4 cup pumpkin puree... from a can. (because let's be honest if your idea of baking includes Rice Krispies squares, you sure as hell don't puree your own pumpkin) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions Step 1. Melt the butter in a nonstick pan over medium to low heat. Then add the pumpkin puree. Let it warm up a bit and then gradually pour in the marshmallows, folding them in as you go.
Step 2. Add your fall spices to the mixture, blending them in thoroughly before turning the pan off.
Step 3. Once the pan is off, let the mixture cool for a minute, then add the cereal. If you prefer not to spend the evening fishing Rice Krispies out of your stove top crevices, I recommend putting the cereal into a giant mixing bowl and then pouring the pan mixture into that instead.
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Step 4. Dump the contents into a generously buttered baking pan. There's enough in this batch to fill a 9 x 13 pan but if you want your squares to be a little thicker, just use a smaller pan (this isn't rocket science, people).
Let the squares sit for 30 minutes before cutting in and serving. If you want, you can decorate the top of the dish with m&m's, melted chocolate, icing -- you name it.
I personally tried the white chocolate drizzle which ended up looking nothing like the photo on Sally's Baking Addiction. Further proving that I am no Sally, nor am what you'd call a "baking addict."