Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chocolate Caramel-filled Crispy Treats

by Darla

NO SPOILERS (here or in the comments, PLEASE).

Have you ever seen Dance Academy? It’s an Australian show about teenagers who go to a prestigious ballet school in Sydney, and it’s on Netflix Watch Instantly right now, and I’m currently obsessed, thanks to my friend, Tina.

Important facts before I go on:

I was one of those little girls who wanted to be a ballerina (and also a heart doctor for babies…I dreamed big).

It wasn’t a passing fantasy, or little girl dream…I truly wanted to dance. Every day.

My parents couldn’t afford to send me to dance, so I never went.

When I was in the 6th grade, I had a friend who danced, a lot, and she told me I had perfect ballerina feet. I was sure it was a sign that I was destined to become a prima ballerina, with or without lessons.

I never became a ballerina, but my heart skips a beat and I get chills when I watch ballet. Really.

Obviously, I missed my calling.

Now, upon learning this, Tina immediately declared that I must watch Dance Academy. Who am I to argue?

I wached the first two episodes, and I was honestly a little like, “This is kinda for kids or something, I don’t know if I like it.”

But I watched more, and somewhere along the line, I was hooked, and completely in love with the characters. Sammy being my favorite.

Yes. Sammy.

No spoilers allowed, but I watched all of the episodes on Netflix, hated certain characters, got annoyed with others, loved some, and supported Sammy the entire time.

I cried bawled blubbered all the way through the final three episodes. I yelled at my friend for addicting me to the show, cause it made me cry. A lot.

Then I called and found adult beginner ballet classes and I start in February.

I’m not even joking right now.

So the point of all this is: go watch Dance Academy, but Don’t blame me when you fall in love with everybody on it, lose your mind over what happens to them, and join an adult ballet class out of insanity. Blame Tina.

And also, eat these chocolaty caramel-y crispy treats while you watch. It’s vital.

These treats are filled with caramel, and to make that happen, you have to separate the batch into two. While it’s still hot, press the first half into a lightly oiled 9×13-inch pan.

Once it’s tightly pressed and shaped, turn it out onto a baking sheet. Now, press the remaining crispy treats into the now empty 9×13-inch pan, and allow both pieces to cool completely.

You may notice that you have a few larger holes in your treats. For the top layer, it doesn’t matter, but for the bottom layer, I decided to fill the holes, so that the carmael wouldn’t all squeeze out through them.

All I did was melt a little chocolate, and patch the largest of the holes with it. Once it sets up, the caramel won’t be able to go anywhere.

You don’t need to do this step. It’s not a big deal to have a few holes, but I liked them a little better this way; they were just a little cleaner.

Once your treats are cooled, spread caramel all over the layer that’s still in the 9×13 pan. I was going to use my regular caramel sauce here, but I was totally in the mood for chocolate, so I created some chocolate caramel instead.

I’m warning you now: make this stuff at your own risk. It is highly addictive. Highly.

After the caramel is spread, lay the other layer of crispy treats over it, then spread the top with chocolate ganache.

I decided to garnish my treats with chocolate sprinkles and a bit of crushed cereal, but you could use anything you like (candy, nuts, coconut, etc.), or skip garnish altogether. Just be sure to add it while the ganache is still wet, so that it sticks.

These are the perfect dessert: crispy and sweet, filled with gooey, wonderful homemade chocolaty caramel, and topped with soft, rich dark chocolate ganache. I’m kind of totally obsessed with these, which is a good thing, since the new season of Dance Academy doesn’t hit Australia until this summer.

That means I have a long, long wait before I can continue on with the show…I’m gonna need these treats to fill the void.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you’ve seen the show, please, please, PLEASE no spoilers for those who haven’t. I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate spoilers.

Chocolate Caramel-filled Crispy Treats
Makes 1 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients

FOR THE CRISPIES
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces marshmallows
6 cups plain crisp rice cereal

FOR THE CARAMEL
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon corn syrup (or agave syrup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoons sea salt, crushed

FOR THE GANACHE
4.5 ounces semi-sweet, dark, or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
scant half cup (about 7 ounces) heavy cream

To make the crispies: Lightly spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly until they are completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in half of the cereal. Once thoroughly combined, stir in the remaining cereal until it is evenly coated in the melted marshmallow.

Press half of the cereal mixture (about 8 ounces) into the prepared pan, pressing together any large holes that appear. Once it’s shaped, transfer it immediately to a baking sheet to cool. Press the remaining cereal mixture into the 9×13-inch pan, being sure to press together any large holes that appear.

To make the caramel: Place the sugar, water, cocoa powder, and corn syrup in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Without stirring, bring to a boil over high heat, swirling the ingredients in the pan occasionally. Continue boiling until the mixture reaches an amber color. Remove from heat and very carefully (the mixture will quickly expand and sputter) add the cream in a slow steady stream, being sure to stir constantly. Once combined, add the salt and butter and continue stirring until both are completely melted and combined. Cool to room temperature before using.

To make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream until just boiling (about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in the microwave). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, covering it completely. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely combined with the cream. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

Assemble: If there are any large holes in the bottom layer of the crispies, patch them with melted chocolate, if desired.

Pour the caramel over the bottom later of the crispies and spread it almost to the edge. Lay the other payer of crispies on top, pressing down lightly. Spread the cooled ganache over the top of the crispy bars. Garnish with sprinkles, candies, nuts, or more cereal, if desired. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes to let the ganache set.

Recipe by Darla

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda January 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

The butler did it! Just kidding. I have never seen that show, so I have no spoiler for you. :) Pretty treats!

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2 Kathia January 16, 2013 at 10:15 am

Darla, these look amazing, I can totally feel that I am gaining weight just looking at them. I have never made chocolate caramel sauce, thanks for sharing the recipe, I will try it for sure.

I love the pictures!
PS: I never seeing the show but sound funny!

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3 christina @ ovenadventures January 16, 2013 at 10:19 am

that is so fabulous that you are going to become a ballerina!! i have never even heard of this show but i can totally picture myself becoming completely addicted. oh and these treats sounds incredible!

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4 Stephanie Dunne January 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

You can be anything you wanna be! Good for you for following your dreams & making them a reality.
But about these rice crispy treats…Wow! I have never tried chocolate carmel this is a must on my to do list like, right now. Thanks for sharing. -Stephanie

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5 Erin Maree January 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Being Australian I have seen the series and was hooked from the first episode I have probably seen season one 3 times as its repeated so often but it is such a good show. I too cried during the final three episodes of season two. They have just finished up season three (the final season) so that will air soon here (can’t wait! Though it feels like the end of an era). My favourite charcter was always Tara just because I understood what it felt like to misunderstood and how its hard learning where you stand in a new place.

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6 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 17, 2013 at 3:51 am

Rice krispie treats will always be a great treat! Love this spin on the classic :)

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7 Kelly January 17, 2013 at 7:12 am

These look awesome!
And on the other hand, I DID take ballet when I was younger, but stopped when I was 18 to focus on college. Just started taking classes again last week, and I love it!!! Totally worth it!

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8 Cecily January 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

I love the show too. Good luck with class, I always wanted to dance but couldn’t. The treats look great.

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9 Nancy G January 17, 2013 at 10:15 am

Good for you for taking a dance class! I know quite a few people in my circle of friends (we are all 40+) who signed up for Ballet, Tap and Jazz classes and are thoroughly enjoying themselves. It is never too late to do something that you have dreamed of all your life! Enjoy!

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10 Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers January 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Not blame. Thank. You mean THANK. Yes. Yes, you do :D

These look AMAZERING. You can thank me by sending some FED EX.

Also, you will be a pretty, pretty ballerina! Just don’t go all Saskia on any one!

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11 Mariam January 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Hahaha OMG! I’m Australian, I remember in year 8 my friends were obsessed with the show and I used to laugh at them for it!

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12 sue @ cakeballs, cookies and more January 18, 2013 at 5:55 am

Good for you!!! I used to love horse back riding, I was lucky enough that my parents gave me lessons for years, but I drifted away from it. A few years back I got a membership so I could ride again, and I love it. My son thinks the pony he rides belongs to him, its so funny:)

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13 Becca- cookie jar treats January 19, 2013 at 7:02 am

I used to be in ballet, I was terrible at it. I’ve never seen the show, but I’ll read a little bit about it. Right now I’m watching the UK version of Being Human on netflix. It’s kind of weird, but I’m too far in to stop watching.

These rice krispie treats look fabulous!! I cant wait to try them :D

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14 Martina January 20, 2013 at 8:09 am

wow, I have never met someone who had the same story!!! I live in Argentina, and when I was a little girl I KNEW that I wanted to dance all the time. My neighbor went to classes and I wanted to go too, but my mother said NO. (She saysshe doesn’t remeber why…) So, I went to watch, with her, and then went home and practiced. (I guess that that must have been a real torture for a little girl). Years later, as a teen, a gym teacher I had, who also had been a great ballerina, told me that my feet were amazing, that ” dancers spend years trying to have feet as yours “…. I keep trying to find adult classes but my job never allows me to start, so I totally understand the joy you must be feeling and the excitement to start!!!…. SO DO IT FOR ME!!! and enjoy your classes!!! I love reading your recipes, I am trying to make a webpage of my own! let’s see how that goes!
greetings from the South

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15 Cassy January 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

If I want just regular caramel, do I just leave out the cocoa powder?

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