It seems like lately my blog is all about the people I met at a picnic on that fateful June day two years ago, and that’s because a lot of them are having babies or publishing cookbooks. (Or in Lindsey’s case, having a baby and a book.) Isn’t that funny? Today I’m celebrating Cynthia of Two Red Bowls because she just became #ThreeRedBowls! Cynthia is such a sweetheart and she was the one who originally emailed me about joining in on that picnic because we had been trying to meet up. She brought the best tofu and a tasty broccoli stem salad, along with her big, friendly smile. Now she’s become a mom, so Steph and Alana gathered a bunch of us to share food that fits in bowls in order to celebrate her baby bowl. (Scroll down for the full list of recipes at the bottom of this post.) If you haven’t checked out Cynthia’s blog, you should do so pronto. Everything she makes sounds so wonderful (like sticky date cinnamon rolls or potato, garlic and leek soup) and I practically want to lick it off the screen, plus her beautiful darker photography style always inspires me.
I have been meaning to share this recipe for a long time now (I think I photographed it back in February?), and I thought it fit well for Cynthia’s baby shower. This recipe would be a quick thing to throw together if you’re a busy parent, or perfect for those future bake sale fundraisers that will inevitably pop up along the way. It’s basically a super grown-up version of the Rice Krispie treat, and who doesn’t like that? The blogger baby shower had very loose requirements of “does it fit in a bowl?” Well, yes it does. (Although I guess it depends on the size of your bowl and what kind of portion you give yourself … because I know I could eat the whole pan.)
This recipe comes from The Sugar Hit!: Sweets That Pack a Punch!, a cookbook by my other blog friend, Sarah of The Sugar Hit. Her site is bold, punchy and fun, and her cookbook is a perfect example of a blog being turned into a cookbook. It’s full of her sugary recipes, bright colors and hilarious headnotes. In the intro she asks that you think of her as her “cheeky younger sister.” I can get down with that! I’d love to have a cheeky younger sister like her. And her motto is “Life is for the living and cake is for the eating.” I COULDN’T AGREE MORE.
A favorite chapter of mine from the book is her Coffee Break chapter. Coffee break is a thing that happens in my office every day at 10am, and it has been going on since the 1950s. We all stop what we’re doing, drink coffee and eat snacks (usually Tastykakes and Little Debbies) for about fifteen or twenty minutes before going back to work. It’s a nice ritual that not only fuels us with caffeine and sugar for the day ahead, but also gives us a chance to spend time with one another and check in about what we’re working on. It’s always a highlight of my day, and just about every sweet recipe on this site has made an appearance there. The guys start to get antsy if I don’t bring in baked goods for a while. (Seriously, though – coffee break saves me from eating all of the cookies I make at home. If I couldn’t bring in my leftovers it would be a sad story, at least for my pants.)
The recipe for these Salted Caramel Chocolate Crackles stood out to me immediately because it’s essentially a homemade version of the Little Debbie Star Crunch cookies (or chocolate crackles, as Sarah refers to them), which were a staple of my childhood lunchboxes and occasionally show up in our coffee break snack selection. Sometimes when you make a processed food from scratch it’s not worth the effort and the flavor isn’t enough of an improvement to make it worthwhile in the first place. These, however, are extremely easy to make AND they taste a million times better than the original. (Sorry, Little Debbie!) But for real – these are too good. I could eat the whole bowl of the final mixture with a spoon before even letting it set. Let’s just pretend it’s fancy cereal (because that’s really all it is), and call it breakfast. Yeah?
Congrats to Sarah on a fun and spunky cookbook, and congrats to Cynthia on your growing family! It thrills me that I get to celebrate two talented ladies like yourselves with this recipe.
You can find the rest of the bowl-friendly recipes from the baby shower below:
I am a Food Blog | Mac and Kimcheese Dolsot Bibimbap
Fix Feast Flair | Dishoom’s Chicken Ruby Murray
The Fauxmartha | Mom Lunches
A Cozy Kitchen | Cornbread Chicken + Dumplings
The Pancake Princess | Stovetop Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Snixy Kitchen | Chicken Pot Pie with Chestnut Biscuits
Lady and Pups | Egg Florentine in Pullman “Bowls”
Betty Liu | Honeynut Squash Congee
Style Sweet CA | Date Bourbon Cinnamon Rolls
Warm Vanilla Sugar | Broccoli Quinoa Bowl with Avocado Sauce
A Beautiful Plate | Coconut Cauliflower Soup
Girl Versus Dough | Tomato Grilled Cheese Soup
Fork to Belly | A Big Hawaiian Fruit Bowl
Donny Tsang | Chawanmushi
Wit & Vinegar | Jerk Chicken Chili
Constellation Inspiration | Salted Egg Yolk Custard Mochi
twigg studios | Katsu Udon Soup wth Popcorn Chicken Croutons
Edible Perspective | Acorn Squash Bowls with Pears, Pecans, and Vanilla Bean Cream
Coco Cake Land | Asian Bowl Cut Sugar Cookies
Southern Souffle | Sorghum Apple Biscuits In A Bowl
The Bojon Gourmet | Smoky Sweet Potato & Lentil Tortilla Soup
Flourishing Foodie | Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup
What should I eat for breakfast today | Little Bowl with Creamy Polenta, Cheese, Onions and Mushrooms
Top with Cinnamon | Squash & Crispy Kale Bowls with Pomegranate and Miso-Ginger Dressing
the broken bread | Roasted Celeriac + Fennel Soup
Fig+Bleu | Cauliflower Harissa Soup
my name is yeh | Corn Dog In A Bowl
Crepes of Wrath | Mini Scallion Pancake Challah Buns
O&O Eats | Persimmon Cobbler
Chocolate + Marrow | Parsnip + Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta
With Food + Love | Caramelized Golden Beet Soup with Fall Roots + Garlicky Yogurt
Hungry Girl por Vida | Rice Cooker Oats with Bruleed Bananas + Vanilla Bean Cream
The Pig and Quill | Slow Cooker Pumpkin Curry Beef Stew
Illustration at top created with pencil and Photoshop.
Prints of my illustrations (and other products with my work on them) are available in my Society6 shop.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 9 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt, like Maldon
- 3.5 oz milk chocolate, roughly chopped
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 4 cups puffed rice cereal
- Combine the sugar and water in a deep heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar melts and the mixture begins to bubble. If the sugar is melting unevenly, you can tilt or swirl the pan, but do not stir. Once it begins to bubble, continue cooking for 6-10 minutes until it becomes an amber color.
- Remove from the heat and carefully pour in the cream. It will bubble up, but just leave it to settle. Add the butter and salt and cook over low heat, stirring, until everything melts and combines into a caramel, about 30 seconds. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- While waiting for the caramel to cool, put the puffed rice in a large bowl and line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- When the 5 minutes are up, pour out ¼ cup of the caramel and set aside. Add the chocolate to the remaining caramel and stir gently until the chocolate melts.
- Pour the chocolate/caramel mixture over the rice cereal and stir until everything is combined.
- Press the mixture into the lined baking pan. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top and place the pan in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours. (If you're like me, you could save a little extra caramel and use that to drizzle over individual squares later or for dipping.) Once it is set, cut into small squares and serve.
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