This Halloween was different for us, much like everything in 2020 has been different. That week South Dakota set new records for COVID cases and hospitalizations. With my husband working at the hospital and the clinic, we had prepped our kids to know that “flattening the curve” sometimes means small sacrifices on our part to help slow the spread of the virus. “Besides, choosing your own candy means you end up with only your favorites,” my husband reasoned.
Our kids didn’t go trick-or-treating. Instead, I took them to Sam’s Club (armed with masks and hand sanitizer) and let them choose their own ridiculously extra large bag of candy to ease my Mom guilt that they wouldn’t get to celebrate every kids’ favorite holiday the way they normally do. But hey, the theme for 2020 seems to be “new normal” as all traditional ways of doing just about anything have gone out the window. Instead of dressing up, my kids wore pajamas all day. Lindsay happens to have Halloween themed pjs. Matthew couldn’t care less. After bringing home their Sam’s Club candy bags they dumped them all over the living room and sorted them to make sure they had an equal amount of each type. Then I “stole” their pillowcases full of future cavities and hid them. They had to complete their own scavenger hunt to find their treats. After dinner, they happily ate their Halloween stash while watching the newest version of “The Witches.” All in all, it was a great night.
I’ve never made Rice Krispie Treats before and I’m not sure why, except to say that my mom never made them while we were growing up either. I guess the shiny, blue foil wrapper was sufficiently sweet and chewy enough that we never felt the urge to improve it. This year I thought if I was going to make homemade Rice Krispie Treats then there should be something special about them. It’s still pumpkin season, and there are plenty of ideas for all things pumpkin. This was actually the first new pumpkin recipe I tried out this year as it seemed easy and festive. Both are true!
They make the perfect treat to share with neighbors (on their doorstep while you ring the bell and then stand six feet away) or to nibble on at home while you’re stuck inside binge watching “Stranger Things” after the kids have gone to bed…
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal
- 4 oz white chocolate (optional)
- Coat an 11×7 baking pan with butter. (You could also use a non-stick spray- I just don’t buy it.) Set pan aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the pumpkin puree and increase the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until it is warmed through.
- Fold marshmallows, stirring frequently until almost completely melted. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt, and remove from heat.
- Allow the marshmallow mixture to cool for 20 minutes or until it is at room temperature (this prevents the mixture from resulting in soggy Rice Krispie treats).
- Measure Rice Krispie cereal into a large mixing bowl. Add the melted marshmallow mixture and stir until combined.
- Transfer to the baking dish and press into an even layer (a piece of wax paper or parchment paper works well for this.) Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Top with a drizzle of white chocolate (optional)
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn