It’s holiday baking season and that usually means lots and lots of cookies. Cookies everywhere you turn. And so because there’s only so many ways to reinvent the classic holiday cookies we all know and love, I figured the best thing to do this holiday season is to throw in some non-cookie holiday posts into the mix. With that being said, I made these Florentine Rice Cereal Treats. Florentine cookies or biscuits, in case you’re not aware of it, are European lace cookies made of nuts, various candied fruit and sugar melted together with butter and honey. The baked cookies are coated on the bottom with chocolate. They are to die for, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of eating them, then you need to get a hold of some right away. Then after you fall in love with them, like I know you will, you can come back here and try making these cereal treats because they’re a great alternative without all the hassle of the traditional Florentine. Plus, if you’re a fan of rice cereal treats then it’s really the best of both worlds. The fact that these treats don’t require the oven, makes them the perfect holiday recipe to keep in mind because who really has time to be baking a bunch of cookies? Maybe Santa loves European cookies turned rice cereal treats? You never know. Anything is possible.
This is basically the recipe on the side of the rice cereal box, but then we jazz it up with lots of different ingredients that make them taste like a classic Florentine cookie. So to start, melt the butter in a large pot. Then add the marshmallows and let the melt.
Season the melt marshmallow mixture with lemon zest, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and cloves. Again, these are all flavors that are found in the lace cookies, so I wanted to make sure to incorporate them into these rice cereal treats.
**Note: I’m not a fan of pre-ground nutmeg at all. The flavor just isn’t right and I feel like it over-powers any dish you use it in. So I ALWAYS recommend that you freshly grate your nutmeg yourself. Get yourself a cheap microplane and get some fresh nutmeg. It’s the best! Hands down!**
Then add the rice cereal and stir gently (but as quickly as possible without breaking up the cereal too much) using a rubber spatula.
Add the chopped pistachios, chopped almonds, chopped candid cherries, candied orange peel, candied lime or lemon zest and stir again, as quickly as possible to evenly incorporate everything.
**Note: Candied fruit might be a little tough to find at the grocery store, but around this time, it might be by the produce section or in the dried fruit section. Some stores have fruit cake displays and so you might find it there in tubs!**
Divide the mixture between two greased cupcake tins, and then press down on them firmly to compact them as much as possible.
**Note: This recipe yields 24 cereal treats, so you’ll want two 12 cavity muffin tins or four 6-cavity tins! I greased them with cooking spray, which will make it a lot easier for them to come out of the tins.**
While the treats sit and set, let’s make the chocolate topping. In a heat-proof bowl, combine the dark chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Then microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Remove, stir and repeat until the chocolate has melted through and is smooth.
**Note: You can also make this in a double boiler, if you don’t have a microwave or just don’t like them.**
Invert the cereal treats onto a wire rack and then dip each (upside down) into the melted chocolate. Place the treats onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, chocolate side up.
Allow the chocolate to set before serving or eating. If you want to speed things up a bit you can place the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes.
These are a great gift to give people if you’re looking to give some homemade presents this year. Place them in some cellophane bags and tie them with a festive ribbon and BOOM, you got an amazing gift in no time at all with no effort. Watch out, Santa.
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container or large plastic food storage bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.
On a side note: I’m not one for being a stickler about brands, but whenever I make rice cereal treats, I’ve found that real Rice Krispies cereal is the only way to go. I’ve tried it with generic brands and the texture just isn’t right.
If people don’t really know what a Florentine cookie is, then you can go ahead and just call these Fruit Cake Rice Cereal Treats, because several people thought that’s what these were and at first I was correcting them, but then it kept on happening, so I was like okay, yeah sure. That’s a great idea as well. I’m not complaining. I don’t care what you call them, just as long as you make them, because they’re absolutely delicious.
Keep these in mind when you’re planning out your holiday “baking” for this year, which should be around this time? I have no idea because I’m so behind on everything. BUT needless to say, this is a great recipe to keep in mind because there is no actual baking involved and that comes in handy when you want a treat but don’t want to work to hard to get it.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch fresh ground nutmeg
- pinch ground all-spice
- pinch ground cloves
- 6 cups rice cereal
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped candied cherries
- 2 tablespoons chopped candied orange zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped candied lemon zest
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Grease two standard cupcake tins with cooking spray, and set aside.
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat with the butter. Once melted through, add the marshmallows and cook, stirring often, until melted through. Remove from heat and stir in the orange and lemon zest and spices. Add the rice cereal and stir with a rubber spatula until evenly combined. Working quickly, stir in the pistachios, almonds, raisins, candied cherries, and candied lemon and orange zest.
- Divide the mixture among the prepared cupcake tins and press each down firmly. Let rest for at least 2 hours to set. Invert the cereal treats onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and oil and microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Stir and repeat 2 or 3 more times until completely melted through and smooth. Dip the bottom side of each treat into the chocolate and return to the baking sheet, chocolate side up. Allow to set before serving. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Enjoy!