Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sallee B's Strawberry Chocolate Cereal Hearts

This post began to take shape when I decided to combine two of my favorite flavors into a heart-shaped, cereal treat. Chocolate and strawberry. Sounds good doesn't it?
Cocoa Dyno-Bites would provide a nice, cocoa-chocolate flavor. However, I wasn't sure about how to flavor the marshmallows. After spending some time looking through the pantry, I eventually decided to use a package of sugar free, strawberry jello. A kitchen adventure was about to begin because I had no idea if the gelatin would dissolve in the marshmallows. 

Four batches later, my original recipe has proven to be a winner! A coworker asked me to make two and a half dozen for a Valentine's Day raffle. I was and am thrilled by the success of my dynotastic treats.






Sallee B's Strawberry Chocolate Cereal Hearts

This recipe is husband tested and approved. Updated on February 13, 2014 

Yield: about 16 to 20 three inch hearts

Equipment

1 baking sheet
1 large, microwaveable glass bowl
1 large spoon
1 dry measure measuring cup
1 Tbsp. measuring spoon
1 three inch heart cookie cutter
1 self-closing snack size plastic bag

Ingredients


4 Tbsp. butter      1- 10 oz. bag miniature marshmallows             6 cups Cocoa Dyno-Bites cereal

1 package sugar free strawberry jello    1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

1/4 cup white, vanilla flavored chips      Valentine's Day coated, chocolate candies
 
shortening to lightly grease the baking sheet, cookie cutter, and hands

Directions for Cereal Mixture


  • Grease baking sheet lightly with shortening. Set aside.
  • Place butter and 1 Tbsp. corn syrup in a large, microwaveable bowl and microwave for 30 second. 
  • Stir once or twice.
  • Microwave for an additional 15 seconds, or until the butter is melted.
  • Remove bowl from the microwave. Add marshmallows to the bowl and stir until the marshmallows are coated with the butter and corn syrup mixture.
  • Place the bowl of coated marshmallows in the microwave.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir mixture once or twice.
  • Repeat this step twice, or until the marshmallows are melted.
  • Add the packet of dry jello. Stir until mixed well and the mixture is uniformly pink. You will still see very small flecks of pink jello, but that is okay.
  • Add the cereal to the hot marshmallow mixture.
  • Stir carefully until well blended.

Method 1


  • Place the bowl on top of a pan that has about 2 inches of warm water in it. Do not simmer. Keep the bowl warm, not hot, so the cereal mixture will remain pliable. Stir occasionally. 
  • Lightly grease your hands. 
  • Carefully press the hot mixture into the lightly greased cookie cutter that is sitting on the baking sheet.
  • Remove the cookie cutter from the heart shaped cereal treat. Repeat until the cereal mixture is gone. 
  • Set pan aside to cool

Method 2


1. Press the cereal mixture into a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan
2. Press the cookie cutter into the mixture.
3. Level the marshmallow cereal mixture by removing or adding small amounts of the cereal mixture.
4. Remove the hearts to a wax paper covered cookie sheet.


Decorating the Strawberry Chocolate Hearts

  • Place 1/4 cup of white vanilla chips in the snack bag. 
  • Microwave for 30 seconds. Check to see if the chips are melting. 
  • Microwave another 30 seconds. Gently squeeze the chips inside the bag until all of the lumps are melted and the mixture is smooth. 
  • Make sure the top is locked securely, snip bottom corner of the snack bag and drizzle the chocolate cereal hearts with the melted chips. 
  • Then, place a small dot of melted chocolate on an M&M.
  •  Place in center of a heart. Repeat until all the hearts have been decorated.

What I Have Learned


  1. The flecks of jello will not be noticeable when the chocolate cereal is stirred into the marshmallow mixture.
  2. I thought a whole package of sugar free jello made for an intense, strawberry flavor. However, three separate tasters disagreed with me. I'm not going to argue with happy eaters.  
  3. It is necessary to add some liquid to the marshmallow/jello mixture. So I settled upon one tablespoon of light corn syrup.
  4. Each batch will vary slightly because: a. the cereal is at the top of the bag is bigger than the cereal at the bottom of the bag. b. different varieties of marshmallows melt differently.
  5. If your marshmallows won't melt, try this:
  • Add one Tbsp. of milk and stir for two or three minutes. 
  • If your marshmallows STILL won't melt, try adding 1 tsp. of corn syrup and stir for another two or three minutes. 
  • Still won't melt? Your marshmallows are too old and you need to start over with a fresh bag. 

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