Snap, Crackle, Crunch AKA Last Minute No Bake Holiday Cookies

We did it again. The holidays are fast approaching and here we are with only a day left until Christmas and we procrastinated posting our annual holiday cookie blog. This blog is dedicated to all those last minute bakers that want to make something semi-homemade. Cheers to all.

Rice Krispie ™ treats are yummy, gooey, cookies that we have loved for years. While most of our blog posts are dedicated to food made from scratch, we have tried to replicate these goodies before using puffed brown rice and homemade marshmallows with depressing results. Since it is the holiday season (we believe in many different holidays during this time of year, not just Xmas!) we decided to get off our food crate – er, soap box – and work with the classic, time-tested recipe as a guide.

Our current infatuation with the Rice Krispie treat can be blamed on our recent trip to Yountville and Bouchon Bakery. The bakery sells beautiful Neapolitan Rice Krispie treats featuring decadent layers of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. They are delicious! But like most of the recipes that inspire us, we like to alter them, just a bit, and after finding Bouchon’s recipe online (these treats are very popular at Easter) and seeing the ingredients list, we knew that this one would be a very fun and delightfully easy challenge.

All the makings of snowball treats.

Coconut and White Chocolate Snowballs

Kellogg’s Rice Krispie website features a recipe for their version of “snowballs.” Home cooks rate the recipe a paltry 3 out of 5 stars and we knew that with a little help we could make them better. Using white chocolate, coconut extract, chocolate extract, and Valrhona white chocolate pearls (inspired by Bouchon’s crispies) we knew we could boost the chocolate and coconut flavors without going overboard. They turned out great rolled in sweetened coconut flakes and placed in individual paper cups. Of course, a few of the items used to make them so special are not so easy to find in most grocery stores. Lucky for us our, neighborhood grocery store is Andronico’s and as fate would have it, Jason found Valrhona pearls on display at the store. We doubt the average Walmart or town grocery store carries these candy treats, so feel free to omit them if you can’t find them.

Coconut and White Chocolate Rice Krispies Snowballs
7oz Marshmallow
1.5oz Butter
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
3oz white chocolate chips
3.5oz Rice Krispies
2.7oz Crunchy White Pearls (these are dark, milk and white chocolate covered cereal from Valrhona)
4oz sweetened coconut flakes

Bring 2” of water to a boil in a saucepot and place a bowl on top to create a double boiler. In the bowl, melt the white chocolate chips and then stir in the butter, marshmallow and extracts until the mixture has completely melted together. In a mixing bowl, fold the Rice Krispies and crunchy pearls into the marshmallow mixture. When cool enough to handle, shape the Rice Krispies mixture into small snowballs. Place the coconut on a plate and roll the balls in the coconut, gently pressing the coconut into the balls.

Cordial cherry treats in the making.

Cordial Cherries

Our other Holiday recreation is an updated Cordial Cherry. Again, taking inspiration from Bouchon’s Rice Krispie recipe we have made a part candy, part chocolate Krispie treat that we think is kind of cleaver. Using Bouchon’s recipe for their strawberry Krispie we changed the dried strawberries to dried cherries and added a little Maraschino liquor adding a little kick to them. The chocolate version is completely Bouchon’s recipe. To make the cookies we rolled small balls of cherry Krispie and then covered those in the chocolate Krispie. The results were cute, fun and very festive.

Cherry Rice Krispies
1oz dried unsweetened cherries, chopped
2oz Maraschino Liquor
7oz Marshmallow
1.5oz Butter
4.5oz Rice Krispies
4 drops Red Food Color

In a heavy bottomed saucepot add the chopped dried cherries and Maraschino liquor, cook over medium heat until the liquor is almost evaporated. Add the butter, marshmallow and food coloring whisking together until everything is completely melted. In a mixing bowl, fold the Rice Krispies into the marshmallow mixture. When cool enough to handle, shape the Rice Krispies mixture into small tablespoon balls.


Chocolate Rice Krispies
14oz Marshmallow
3oz Butter
7oz Rice Krispies
5oz Crunchy Pearls (these are dark, milk and white chocolate covered cereal from Valrhona)
4.2oz 64% Cocoa Chocolate
1oz 100% Cocoa Chocolate
0.7oz Cocoa Powder

Bring 2” of water to a boil in a saucepot and place a bowl on top to create a double boiler. In the bowl, melt the chocolates together and then stir in the butter, marshmallow and cocoa powder until the mixture has completely melted together. In a mixing bowl fold the Rice Krispies and crunchy pearls into the marshmallow mixture. When cool enough to handle, take one of the cherry Rice Krispie balls and cover it with some of the chocolate Rice Krispie, leaving the bottom of the balls with only the cherry Rice Krispie.

First, We Make Manhattans…

Toss out the toxic red cherries. Home canned Maraschino cherries make the perfect cocktail garnish.

We love cocktails! There’s nothing better than a frosty glass with 2-3 ounces of a shaken potion to celebrate the beginning of the weekend, or just the end of a workday. Bourbon, the sweet brown all American elixir, makes wonderful concoctions that will turn any vodka drinker into a whisky fan after their first sip.

Depending on the origin of the brew, whisky is spelled with or without the “e”  – as in “whisky” or “whiskey.” American whiskey includes that “e” but that isn’t the only difference between it and it’s counterparts across the Atlantic. American whiskies tend to be sweet by Scottish standards. Most are made from a mix of corn, rye and wheat and aged in oak barrels, though the time a particular whiskey spends on oak will vary from bottling to bottling. Of course, there are differences in the malting and distillation processes – the use of peat fired drying kilns and the smoke flavor it imparts to Scottish whisky comes to mind – differences that result in delicate nuances that make one whiskey best served neat, while another one may be mixed to make an ice cold cocktail and served up. While we could go into far more detail about the differences between whisky styles, and the whiskey making process, this post is about cocktails.  More specifically, this post is about our holy trinity of whisky cocktails: Manhattans, Sazaracs, and Rob Roys.

I love a cocktail...


Makes one and can be doubled.

Our favorite bourbons for this cocktail are Bulleit, Woodford’s Reserve, and Maker’s Mark, in that particular order. What makes the best Manhattan, aside from the one of the great bourbons mentioned, is the use of our own homemade maraschino cherries. We no longer buy those toxic red ones – they should be banned! It’s easy enough to make your own with a good bottle of Luxardo’s Maraschino Liqueur and some fresh seasonal cherries. Spring is the perfect time to can a few jars of them to keep year round. All you need to do is pit the cherries, add them to a sterilized mason jar (leaving enough space at the top so it’s not overfilled), pour in the maraschino liqueur and process in a water bath. You can also make a simple jar that will last a month or two in the back of your fridge. Pit the cherries add the maraschino liqueur and refrigerate for a day or two before using.

2 ounces Bourbon

½ ounce Sweet vermouth,

Dash or two Angostura Bitters

Homemade Maraschino cherry

A half hour before making the cocktail put the cocktail glasses in the freezer. Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice. Add the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters. Shake gently until the cocktail shaker becomes frosty. Place a maraschino cherry and 1/2 teaspoon of Maraschino liquor in the bottom of a chilled cocktail glass. Strain the drink into the glass and enjoy!


two at the most...

Makes one but can be doubled. If doubling, mix each drink separately.

We love this classic New Orleans cocktail! Our first experience of the drink came at the hands of the masters at Alembic and we’ve been hooked ever since. We regularly use bourbon in our sazerac recipe, but purists will tell you that this is a drink best made from pure rye whiskey. We’ve tried it with Wild Turkey’s 101 proof Straight Rye with great success. We’ve alternately coated the cocktail glass with absinthe and green chartreuse and like them both. The absinthe adds a spicy sweetness to the finished cocktail. The chartreuse is herbaceous and bitter making the cocktail slightly more complex but with a clean finish. The “official” recipe for the sazerac is an historical mystery, but most agree that the original sazerac was a cognac-based cocktail. The absinthe or pastis came later as did the Peychaud’s Bitters most believe to be a necessary ingredient. When you do your research on the sazerac (and we know you will) you’ll find far too many opinions on what is and isn’t the right way to make the drink. Grain of salt, people! Stick to the basics but experiment where you want. For example, we’ve abandoned the Peychaud’s because we don’t like them – they’re artificially colored and they lack complexity – opting instead for good old Angostura bitters. But what do we know?

2 ounces Bourbon or Rye

1 tsp sugar

Several dashes of angostura bitters

A dash of Absinthe or enough to coat the bottom and sides of the cocktail glass without dripping out

Lemon twist

Note: This is a labor intensive cocktail that requires a little planning. It’s worth every second it takes to prepare!

Set serving class in freezer to chill. In a rocks glass, add sugar and bitters and stir until sugar begins to dissolve. Add bourbon or rye and muddle them until the sugar is completely dissolved (this takes time). Remove cocktail glass from freezer and add absinthe, turning glass on its side to coat the bottom and inside of the glass. To the bourbon sugar bitters mixture, add 2 or 3 ice cubes and stir until chilled. Strain into frozen cocktail glasses. Garnish with lemon twist using a citrus zester. Be sure to remove the twist of lemon peel over the surface of the cocktail so that the oils from the zest “spritz” over the top of the drink. Serve!

Rob Roy

after three I'm under the table, and four I'm under the host.

Oh, to mix Scotch with anything other than a little water. Alas, there are several classic Scotch-based cocktails and we’re not entirely averse to pouring some Johnnie Walker Red or Black label over ice and then adulterating it with any number of mixers. With this cocktail you’ll use Scotch whisky and we recommend Johnnie Walker Red, sometimes Black, but never Gold, Green, or Blue, and don’t even think about adulterating a single malt Scotch with vermouth and bitters! If God doesn’t strike you down for such a grave transgression, a Scotsman surely will! Traditionally, the Rob Roy is served “sweet” hence the use of sweet vermouth. But the cocktail may be made “dry” by substituting dry vermouth for the sweet. The “perfect” Rob Roy uses equal parts of both!

2 ounces Johnny Walker Red or Black Label Blended Scotch

1 ounce Sweet (or Dry) Vermouth (half an ounce of each for a “perfect” Rob Roy)

Dash of Angostura Bitters

Add ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake until the shaker turns icy. Serve up in a cocktail glass with a cherry (or lemon twist if using dry vermouth).

Cheers, Jason and Steve -hic