This month's theme for the #CreativeCookieExchange is Berries & Chocolate. Is there a better pairing than sweet, juicy berries and rich, luscious chocolate? I don't think so. Since I had already made a few milk and dark chocolate sweets this month I decided to use white chocolate. I also wanted to make a bar cookie this month, just for something different. After looking through my collection of cookie magazines for something suitable to the theme, I choose a recipe from a Better Homes & Gardens magazines - White Chocolate & Cranberry Crispy Treats.
Little did I know I would be learning something new along the way about white chocolate. Technically white chocolate is not really chocolate at all because it does not contain any cocoa solids/chocolate liquor (which I did know). It is usually made from cocoa butter, milk solids, milk fat, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Some manufacturers swap out the cocoa butter for vegetable oil, and this prompted the FDA to weigh in on the matter coming up with a standard which stated that to be called white chocolate, a candy must have at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and 3.5% milk fat, and no more than 55% sugar or other sweeteners - if it does not follow these rules then it must be labelled confectionary, and the label must not say the word chocolate anywhere on it. Out of curiosity I went and looked up a few well-known brands to see what their chips are labelled as and what I found was very interesting. It seems that most of the big labels are following the FDA guidelines as their chips are labelled white chocolate, however one is labelled "premier white morsels", with no mention of chocolate. Also, something else to keep in mind is that most good quality white chocolate will actually be more of a beige color, rather than the white that you quite often see in stores.
Even after finding all of this out I still wanted to use white chocolate as I do love the taste of it. I grew up as a Milky Bar Kid, savoring each bite and trying to see how long I could let each piece melt on my tongue before I had to give in and eat it. However it is kind of sweet, so I loved the idea of adding cranberries to try and counterbalance the sweetness of the bar. I also decided the leave out the pecans, and not use the drizzle because I thought I may go into a sugar coma if I added it to the top of the bars.
If you notice a slight pink tinge to my photos then this is due to the fact that I had to use both pink and white marshmallows, and they were big not small - I just could not find the right ones (per the recipe) where I am at the moment. One problem I encountered when making the bars is that the butter/marshmallow mixture is hot, and when you add the other ingredients, the chips immediately melt. To counteract this I placed the mixture into my silicon pan, waited for it to cool just slightly and then pressed some additional chips on top which worked really well. Once the bars had set I cut them into big squares - no wimpy little 48 bars for us. I did cut off a small corner to try, and they are very, very sweet. My husband took one bite and declared them winners - he does have quite a sweet tooth. The rest were packaged up and taken to work with him, where they were quickly devoured.
White Chocolate & Cranberry Crispy Treats
(Printer Friendly Recipe)
Crispy Treats ~
- ¼ cup butter
- 5 cups mini marshmallows
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1 cup white baking pieces
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
Marshmallow Topping ~
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1½ cups mini marshmallows
Crispy Treats ~
- Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan; set aside.
- In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
- Add marshmallows, stirring until melted, then stir in cinnamon.
- Add crispy rice cereal, white baking pieces, and dried cranberries, stirring until combined.
- Scoop mixture into prepared pan. With the back of a greased spoon (or hands), press mixture evenly into pan.
- If desired, drizzle with Marshmallow Topping.
- Let stand for 1 hour before serving.
- Cut into bars (makes approximately 48 bars).
Marshmallow Topping ~
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
- Add marshmallows, stirring until melted.
- Drizzle over crispy treats if desired.
Recipe from BH&G
The theme this month is Berries and Chocolate ~ because we all have a little spring fever! Creative Cookie Exchange has decided to stop using the linky. What this means is that the only way to join in the fun is to become a host. Just contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and I will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Facebook page, our Pinterest Board, and our monthly posts. You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made ~