I lived on campus throughout the entirety of my undergrad years of college. This also means I lived through five whole years of dining commons food. I had to learn to get creative with the food after a year or two, otherwise I'd have starved. I'm not someone who can eat the same thing a bunch of times in a row.
One of the weird things I'll always remember about my dining commons experience is how the cooks would take just about any kind of sugary novelty cereal and turn it into a Rice Krispie treat-like concoction. Lucky Charms, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams...all stuck together with marshmallow-y gooeyness. These turned out to be prime hoarding food, too. There were ridiculous rules about what kinds and how much food you could take out of the dining hall, but you could always rely on getting away with wrapping a few of these sticky bars in napkins and stuffing your pockets with them. There was one variation of these that was to be avoided at all costs, though: the Cap'n Crunch bar. That thing would tear up the roof of your mouth like nobody's business.
I like to think these Miso Caramel + Toasted Coconut Rice Krispie Treats are a bit more grown up than the kid cereal types of my college days. Toasty coconut adds another layer of flavor and texture that helps elevate this above your basic treat. But what really makes these krispie treats shine is the miso caramel. I know...miso? caramel? It sounds odd. It might be. But it's also oddly delicious too. Miso, which is pretty salty on it's own, takes your regular old run-of-the-mill caramel sauce past the "pooh, salty caramel!" mark, all the way to what I can only describe as maybe...umami caramel? It's a little salty, a little earthy, a little savory, and still sweet all at the same time. All I can say is...try it! I'm sure you'll be surprised -- I definitely was!
Miso Caramel + Toasted Coconut Rice Krispie Treats
makes one 8x8 pan of treats
3 cups puffed rice cereal
1 1/4 cup toasted coconut
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 recipe miso caramel (below)
- In a large bowl, stir together rice cereal and toasted coconut.
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and mini marshmallows together until smooth.
- Pour marshmallow mixture into rice cereal mixture, and stir to combine.
- Press mixture evenly into your 8x8 pan.
- Drizzle a portion of your miso caramel over the top.
- Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares of desired shape/size.
- Once squares are cut, drizzle them with miso caramel again.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temp for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 4 days.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cream (I used light cream (18% milk fat) since that's all the grocery store had that day)
1 TB unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp miso*
- Place water and sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Swirl occasionally (don't stir!) to help dissolve sugar into water.
- Continue to cook over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until the sugar mixture reaches a deep amber brown color. Don't walk away, as the timing here can sometimes be unpredictable and you don't want to be dealing with burnt sugar.
- Remove pan from heat, pour sugar mixture into a heatproof bowl. Add cream, butter, vanilla, and miso to sugar mixture. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Allow to cool. Caramel will thicken a bit as it cools.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge. I store mine in mason jars. Microwave it for a few seconds to loosen it up before using (if you want).
- Miso caramel is best when accompanied by something else, rather than eaten by itself. It tends to complement other flavors (like these rice krispie treats!) really well! I still enjoy it solo, but I think the flavor of the caramel by itself can weird some people out a bit because it does have that slightly savory note. For what its worth, I think it's great on vanilla ice cream too!
*Miso can be found at any Asian market, and probably at places like Whole Foods. I used Shiro Miso for this, which is a white miso. I used a full 3 tsp because I really wanted a strong miso flavor. If you're a little nervous, use 2 tsp instead. If you use a darker miso, you may want to use a bit less than I suggest here, too, as the flavor will be stronger.