Vice Krispie Tragedies

Merry Christmas/Solstice/Saturnalia/Festivus/etc! That’s right, I decied to share my Secret Krispie Shame with you. What? No, of course the entry wasn’t just split off from yesterday’s to pad out my buffer. I assure you, this was a completely sep–HEY LOOK, IS THAT A DISTRACTION?

It’s not all fun and games and insulin comas, though. Did you know it’s possible to mess up something as simple as Rice Krispie Treats? Well, it is, and yours truly has done it. It was when I was in late high school or early college. I had been tasked with cooking the pan of Treats for dinner that night, but had somehow gotten sidetracked and run out of time. So I had the bright idea that “Hey, the object is to melt the marshmallows, so wouldn’t they melt faster at a higher temperature?” So I turned up the burner, and lo and behold things started melting. They also started turning a wonderfully rich golden color. Thinking nothing of it at the time, I continued on my way, adding the cereal and putting the pan in the fridge.

Things didn’t go so well once I went to serve them, however. It turns out that nice golden color had been the sugar in the marshmallows caramelizing, and once they set they were anything but gooey. In fact, they were rock solid. So solid, in fact, that it was easier to pry one big hunk out of the pan than it was to slice it with a butter knife. We dutifully tried them anyway, but stopped after one (attempted) bit made us fear for the structural integrity of our teeth.

Truly, it was on of my darkest hours.

Even to this day I’m paranoid. I start getting nervous at the first sign of caramel gold in the marshmallows as they melt, then start stirring mercilessly. It hasn’t happened since, so I must be doing something right. But I live in fear that the ugly specter will one day rear its head again, at the most inopportune time.

1 thought on “Vice Krispie Tragedies

  1. Mark

    Both of these posts are more or less spot on with my family’s caramels. They’re sugar and fat-laden, totally unhealthy for us, and a tradition that they must be made every year around Christmas. The one thing that both my mother and I are always paranoid about when we’re making them is if we pull them from the heat just that fraction of a minute too late. It is insanely easy to overcook that gooey mass, even by waiting only a minute or two more. Unless you really overcook it, you won’t get toffee, but what you will get is something so sticky and chewy that you’d better not go anywhere near it if you have a filling. Assuming we can even get it cut with the knife, that is. It’s been a few years since we messed up a batch like that, but it’s still a source of “Ohgodohgodohgodohgod!” every time we make them.

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