- Prep time 5 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- Serves 24
While a bit unassuming looking, these Rice Krispies treats contain all of the beloved flavors of apple cider doughnuts. One bite and the familiar combination of tart apple cider and warm cinnamon sugar will transport you to an apple orchard. They cram everything you love about nostalgic Rice Krispies treats with the seasonal flavors of fresh-from-the-fryer apple cider doughnuts to create a seasonal version of a childhood classic.
The trick to getting that classic autumnal flavor is to transform apple cider into a thick, bubbling caramel. To do this, you’ll reduce two cups of apple cider or unfiltered apple juice with brown butter until it becomes thick and caramel-like. This process takes time, but you can walk away and do other things as it cooks down. After about 20 minutes the cider will have transformed into a golden caramel sauce with an intense apple aroma that perfumes your house. You’ll add a bag of marshmallows to the caramel, cook it down until golden and caramelized, then finish it off with one more bag of marshmallows and puffed rice cereal. At this point, you can transfer the Rice Krispies into a pan and call it a day, but for even more apple cider doughnut flavor, a flourish of cinnamon sugar is sprinkled on top, lending them a warm flavor and festive sparkle. The bars will take about an hour to fully set, but you can feel free to sneak a few bites while they’re still warm for a true apple cider doughnut experience.
unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
10-ounce bags mini marshmallows, divided (about 11 cups total)
12-ounce box rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies (about 10 cups)
Nonstick cooking spray
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking, stirring often to prevent the milk solids from burning, until the butter foams and darkens into a light amber color and smells nutty, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately add the apple cider, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Let the cider boil, stirring occasionally, until it reduces into a thick, bubbling caramel-like consistency that coats the back of a spoon, 18 to 20 minutes.
- As the cider is reducing, grease a 9x13-inch glass or metal baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
- Once the cider has reduced, add one bag of marshmallows and salt and continue cooking over high heat, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows melt and darken into a light caramel color, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the remaining bag of marshmallows. Stir just until the marshmallows are about half melted, then add the rice cereal. Gently but quickly mix everything together until the rice cereal is evenly coated in the marshmallow mixture and immediately transfer into the prepared baking pan. Gently press the mixture into an even layer using a spatula sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top and let set for at least 1 hour before cutting.