When the ice cream man rolled through our childhood neighborhood sending us scrambling for money, the only thing I’d give up my hard earned allowance for was a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar. I created these Strawberry Vanilla Rice Krispie Treats in homage to the childhood favorite just in time for Valentine’s Day. They are perfectly delicious without the white chocolate drizzle, but holidays call for gilding the lily a bit, don’t you think?
Freeze dried strawberries are what give these treats their beautiful, festive color and natural strawberry flavor. You can find them at most markets in the produce aisle or with the nuts and dried fruits.
Strawberry Vanilla Rice Krispie Hearts
makes 10 hearts with a 3-inch diameter cookie cutter, or 12 squares
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 cups mini marshmallows (about 12 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups puffed rice cereal
- 2 cups freeze dried strawberries (1.5 ounces)
- 1 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand melts perfectly)
Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan with a piece of parchment paper long enough to drape over two sides, then spritz pan and paper lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Sort through the strawberries and set aside 10-12 slices that look most like hearts. Place the rest in a zip top bag and thoroughly crush with hands or a rolling pin. You want a mixture of very small bits and lots of strawberry dust.
Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add marshmallows, vanilla, and salt, stirring continually with a silicone spatula until completely melted and smooth. Turn off heat, immediately stir in the cereal and pour in crushed strawberries and strawberry dust. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Pour into prepared pan and gently press into an even layer with your silicone spatula (lightly spray spatula with cooking spray if mixture is too sticky to work with). Allow mixture to cool, then lift out with the parchment and set on a cutting board. Using a cookie cutter or knife, cut into desired shapes.
Place white chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave at 50 percent power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until melted and smooth. Alternatively, place in a double boiler, heating and whisking until melted and smooth. Place a sandwich or quart-sized ziptop bag in a glass or measuring cup to hold it steady (see above image). When chocolate has cooled slightly, pour into bag and zip closed with as little air as possible.
Snip a tiny corner off one end of bag, then gently squeeze a spot of chocolate onto back of a whole strawberry slice and secure it to rice krispie treat. Repeat until all strawberries are attached, then drizzle as much of the remaining chocolate over the treats as you’d like. Store in an airtight container, with parchment separating the layers, for up to two days.