Friday, January 31, 2014

Salted Caramel Millet Squares (GF) and a snow walk

Greetings from the Atlanta airport! This week has been an interesting one, to say the least.  Last Thursday, I flew out to the Atlanta area to drive to Birmingham, with my friend Tami, the following day for the conference Food Blog South. The conference was excellent and I’m still digesting all that I learned… A recap post will be coming soon.

Following the conference, we headed back to Tami’s in Georgia & I planned to fly back home to Texas on Tuesday. Well, the weather (specifically winter storm “Leon”) had other plans.... Instead of heading home, I found myself stuck at Tami’s house, due to the inclement weather.

Mingus, wearing his sweater & ready to go on a snow walk. 

But honestly, I can’t think of a better place to be stuck!  Tami & Mike are so kind and hospitable! Even with our snow/ice adventures, propane shortages, and cats lost/stuck in unacessible portions of the attic, it was a fantastic stay! I loved having time to relax, catch up on some computer things, cuddle with Mingus and the kitties, and spending time with good friends.

So now today, I’m trying to head back.  Fingers crossed that I’ll actually make it!  But in the mean time, while I’m chilling in the airport, I thought I’d share something I made last week before the trip: Salted Caramel Millet Squares, which I perhaps should have named “mile high salted caramel puffed millet squares.”  They are a little on the tall side...

After making copycat KIND bars last fall, I found myself with a good amount puffed millet. I thought about making a a variation on rice krispy treats, only gluten free, since the particular brand of Puffed Millet Cereal I found is gluten free, and regular crispy rice cereal is not gluten free.  (yes, I know you can get gluten free rice krispies, but my local grocery store doesn’t stock them).  My one complaint is that my millet had got a little stale and was not quite as crunchy as I would have liked, but fresh cereal shouldn’t have that problem.

Regular old rice krispy treats are great, my browned butter version is even better, and now adding salted caramel adds a whole extra flavor dimension.  These squares aren’t quite as easy--you do have to make both the caramel sauce & brown the butter. But the taste, in my opinion, is completely worth it!  And they might make an easy Super Bowl snack? If you can’t get puffed millet, feel free to substitute an equal amount of crispy rice cereal.

Salted Caramel Millet Squares
yields 9 very generous servings 

Salted Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
4 oz / 1 stick / 8 Tbl Butter
8 oz Marshmallows
5.6 oz Puffed Millet Cereal (or substitute crispy rice cereal, though it may not be GF! Check the ingredients)

  1. Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by spraying it liberally with non stick spray (alternately, use a 9x13 if using the millet & you do not want quite as tall squares). Set aside. 
  2. Make the salted caramel sauce (recipe follows), and reserve. 
  3. In a tall, heavy stock pot, brown the butter.  Heat the butter over medium high heat. Once it melts, it will become a bit bubbly or foamy.  Keep cooking, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the bubbles or foam dissipate, and the milk solids begin to brown in the bottom of the pan. Once the solids reach a rich golden brown color, remove the pot from the burner.  
  4. Add the marshmallows and stir with a heat tempered spatula until the marshmallows all melt completely. If the residual heat in the pot does not completely melt the marshmallows, return the pot to the burner briefly. Once the marshmallows have completely melted, stir in the salted caramel sauce. 
  5. Pour the puffed millet into the butter/marshmallow/caramel mixture. Quickly stir until all the cereal is well coated.  
  6. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press to compact.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store any leftovers, covered, at room temperature.  

Salted Caramel Sauce
200g / 7 oz / 1c Granulated Sugar 
3 Tbl Water
2 oz Heavy Cream
2 tsp Fine Grain Sea Salt
  1.  In a 3 qt sauce pan, mix together the granulated sugar and water until the two resemble wet sand. 
  2. Place the pan over medium high heat and cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns a medium/medium dark caramel color. Swirl the pan occasionally, if the browning is uneven.  
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cream. Warning, the mixture will bubble violently when the cream is added, so be careful!
  4. Finish by stirring in the salt. Use as directed above.  
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  1. I've often rice krispie type cereal in breakfast bars. I knew they were not rice krispies because they are smaller and round rather oblong. Was never able to find out what they were, now I know, thanks so much

    1. Glad to have helped solve the mystery for you :)

  2. wow that's taking rice krispie treats to another level!

    1. In more ways than one! :) Thanks for the kind comment.