10-minute Chocolate Rice Krispie (Gluten-free!)

Are you into rice krispies?? I am! The chewy, marshmallowlly, super buttery, decadent, stuff-your-face kind of rice krispies. All on board? Okay! This will literally take you 10 minutes (I timed it…). It’s truly the most un-glorious of all ingredients, chocolate rice krispies, marshmallows and white chocolate, but somehow, when you combine it all into one giant pot, it turns into liquid gold.


When my grandma used to make these for me as a child, they would be insanely delicious right out of the pot, but then after a few hours (luckily they never made it that far), it would turn rock hard.  This always puzzled me as a child, but it was nothing a zap in the microwave couldn’t fix.  Now, as a student, sometimes I get to the point where I’m either too busy, or too lazy to soften rice krispies in the microwave.  Lucky for me, there exists this wonderful thing called the internet and after hours of scouring the web (and I MEAN hours), I figured out the best way to keep rice krispies soft and chewy.


I’ll spare you the food science details, but basically the key to great rice krispies is to make sure that you’re not overheating the marshmallows.  You want them just melted, but anything beyond that will result in hard-not-so-yummy rice krispies.  Now, the great thing is that just melted = less cooking time = less work for you, yay!


Unfortunately, this recipe isn’t vegan or vegetarian, but, it can be made gluten-free! Just make sure you buy the rice krispie brands that have been certified to be gluten-free. I think that I used regular General Mills cereal which wasn’t gluten-free, but I definitely know that there are brands in the supermarket that certify their cereals.


I happen to think that a pop of color makes everything just that much more fun, which is why I crushed up some freeze-dried raspberries to sprinkle over the rice krispies.  Freeze-dried fruit also makes for an excellent alternative to sprinkles (if you’re out), or if you would rather just stick with naturally colored toppings 🙂

10 MINUTE COCCA RICE KRISPIES | Makes 12 large rice krispies

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups marshmallows
  • 6 cups cocca krispies
  • 1 cup white chocolate – melted
  • 1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries – crushed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Over low heat, melt butter. Add in marshmallows and gently stir until 90% of the marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir until all marshmallows have melted.
  2. Add in cocca krispies and mix well
  3. Press into an 8x8in pan and cool
  4. Once cool, cut into rectangles and dip into melted white chocolate
  5. Sprinkle with crushed freeze-dried raspberries for a pop of color
  6. Rice krispies will stay fresh for up to 3 days in an air-tight container

Enjoy!

The Best Vegan Brownies

 When I was young, my favorite part of grocery shopping would be right at the end, when my mom and I would scour the bakery aisle for boxes of brownie mix on sale for 99 cents (!!!!). My mom wasn’t a huge baker, but she knew that my older sister and I loved to make brownies with her.  We’d carefully cradle the small box of brownies in our arms and race home anxious to fill our stomachs with some ooey, gooey brownies fresh out of the oven. Oh man, that initial bite of warm brownie with a cold glass of milk? Probably one of my top ten favorite things to eat for the longest time. 
That was maybe ten, fifteen years ago? And now when I go home the baked goods get a little bit fancier than out of the box (mostly because my lovely mother will fund the ingredients for me to experiment a bit), but when I’m by myself and just have to bake, brownies are still my go to item. Now, I know there’s a lot of debate over what’s better, a cakey brownie or a fudgy brownie but personally, I think I’m a middle of the road not quite cakey, but not ridiculously fudgy with just the right amount of chewiness kind of brownie lover. 


I’ve been getting more and more into vegan baking since that’s what feels best for my stomach (and is also best for the planet! yay!), but never experimented with brownies before. Turns out, vegan brownies are hard to make. No eggs = no emulsifier = a rock hard chocolate flour layer with a giant puddle of oil over it (definitely not yummy). I’m not exactly a huge fan of the different types of vegan emulsifier out there since they all contain a myriad of ingredients that aren’t exactly the best for you.  But on the bajillionth time trying to create a success vegan brownie recipe, I stumbled across something in the back of my cabinet, lonely and forgotten: a can of chickpeas. Out came the chickpeas (later used for some delicious curry), and I decided to experiment with the water which is high in protein and I figured would have similar properties to egg. And it totally worked!!!!

These brownies are rich, a tiny bit cakey, a tiny bit fudgy and pretty much the perfect middle of the road brownie to satisfy both vegans and non-vegans.  I’ve added dark chocolate chips into this batter to keep it vegan, but you are more than welcome to substitute with semi-sweet, milk or even no chocolate. The first bite of it sent me into waves of nostalgia, and also a giant craving for some ice cream to top the brownies with.  They’re ridiculously easy to whip up and even easier to eat. I would recommend not doubling the recipe as the chickpea water generally doesn’t mimic an egg too well if you add in too much.  Seriously though, give them a try! They’re the perfect treat to bring or make if you know your guests have any dietary restrictions. They remind me of my childhood and I hope they also take you back to yours.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil or any neutral tasting oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 tbsp chickpea water (save those chickpeas!)
  • 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (vegan)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F)
  2. Line an 8×8 brownie pan with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine vegetable oil, sugar, vanilla and chickpea water. Whisk together for 1-2 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, all-purpose flour and chocolate chips. Whisk dry ingredients together.
  5. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into an 8×8 brownie pan
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until middle looks set
  8. Cool before cutting for optimal square pieces
  9. Brownies will keep for up 5 days in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

The Best Browned Butter Blondies

 I’m not going to lie, moving to a brand new city is hard.  While New York has been amazing, there are definitely things that I’m struggling with in my new home.  For instance, learning how to shop effectively cause groceries cost a million dollars, but also learning that I can’t just buy 5 bags of food at once because I only have 2 arms.  Or the fact that I realllllllllly have to work on my breathing exercises when the subway decides to evacuate because of police incidences, or even scarier when the subway breaks down underground and I’m stuck in the dark for half an hour.  I do think though, the hardest thing has been the nagging feeling of loneliness that occurs when you first move to a place where you don’t have many friends.


This past week and weekend, I was definitely feeling way more homesick just cause I felt like I wasn’t really fitting in at my school and also because even after budgeting, making ends meet was still the hardest thing in the world. BUT, I guess the world knew what I needed because the two loveliest new friends that I met came over for a baking and Great British Baking date. Sitting around the dining table and laughing about random things just brought me the greatest joy the world.  Also, we chose to make brown butter blondies, which legitimately are like GIANT, WARM HUGS (how can you get better than that).


These blondies, which are adapted from Food52’s recipe, have been my go to recipe since day one in terms of comfort dessert. They can be adapted so easily for whatever you’re in the mood for (nuts, chocolate, white chocolate, fruit, pretzels, chips, honestly everything but the kitchen sink), and when I need a pick me up, it’s dark chocolate chunks all the way. So, my friends are long gone, and it’s just me and the last piece of brown butter blondie, but it’s beautiful souls like them that truly make a place home.


In other news, I’m loving Columbia’s public health program! I was so worried that public health wasn’t the right choice, but I’ve loved everything from learning about the history of public health to discussing the economics of public health (more on that later). OH and can we talk about how New York City is literally dessert heaven?? Where else are you going to find a doughnut store next to a cookie shop next door to a cupcake bakery??
And for those of you who can’t, try out these brown butter blondies, they’re not a perfect substitute, but do come darn near close! They’re chewy, caramel-y, marbled in chocolate and oh, so delicious that you might even want to hide your pan.

*PRO TIP ON HOW TO BROWN BUTTER: Browning butter is hard! The best way to brown butter is to use a small or medium sized sauce pan and cut the butter into smaller sized cubes before placing in pan and melting to help the butter melt evenly.  You’ll start to hear small crackles and pops when the butter begins to brown and it’ll look like the white “foam” layer on the top of the melted butter is slowly “boiling” off.  After awhile, the crackling sounds will begin to die down and you’ll be able to see light golden specks on the bottom of the pan, remove the saucepan immediately from heat and the residual heat will bring the brown butter to a perfect dark golden color.

BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES | Adapted from Food52 | Makes one 10″ cake tin

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chunks or bars chopped into bite-sized pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (F).
  2. In a medium sized sauce pan, brown butter* (refer to note above) and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Then add in both brown sugar and white sugar into sauce pan and mix browned butter and sugars together thoroughly. Let cool for 10-15 minutes (this is an important step, otherwise your eggs will curdle!)
  4. Add in vanilla and salt into pan and again mix thoroughly.
  5. Crack both eggs into the pan and whisk or beat mixture together until it takes on a shiny consistency (that will mean that the eggs have properly emulsified the mixture, basically, it means when you bake it, the butter won’t leak out of your blondies and be a gross mess).
  6. Then stir in flour and once flour is thoroughly incorporated, fold in the chocolate chunks.
  7. Pour into pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. Blondies are done when surface looks golden and flaky (depending on how much chocolate you put in the blondie, a toothpick will not come out clean no matter what).
  8. Let cool before attempting to cut into it otherwise blondie pieces will come out gooey and uneven.
  9. Blondies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

Enjoy!