It’s Autumn and that means Halloween, pumpkin spice everything, beautiful leaves, days at the apple orchard, cool mornings… basically everything I love about the year- expect for the pumpkin stuff. I must be the only person around that hates pumpkin. But, I despise it. You can keep your pumpkin bread, your pumpkin pie, your pumpkin cookies…. yuck. I HATE cooked apples too. At least those I’ll willingly eat raw- but the pumpkin grosses me out every time.
At least with hating strawberries, I know what traumatic experience led to my hatred. Pumpkins are innocent enough, it seems. I don’t have a fear of pumpkins, I was never forced to eat it as a kid… I just don’t like it. But, I know that others do, and if there is a need for it, I will make the treats for others- as long as I’m in a well-ventilated area. 😉
BUT- these Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins I can get behind. There is absolutely no PUMPKIN in them. They’re just colored orange and shaped like a pumpkin. I can handle that. (I do also love the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins- but that’s another story.) I’ve seen several recipes floating around the web, so I’m not sure who to attribute them to, but the general krispie treat recipe remains pretty much unchanged throughout many, many years of making them. You can find a basic recipe on the Rice Krispie cereal box or on the back of the marshmallow bag.
I’ve never actually shaped cereal treats before. I know that several professional cake decorators use them in some of the more extreme cakes- but I hadn’t worked with them myself. I’ve only ever mixed it up and pushed it into a pan and cut! Turns out- shaping them isn’t that much harder.
I thought I’d have to work super fast so they wouldn’t set up on me- but even slightly warm they’re pliable. Besides, one of the best reasons to make these into pumpkins? Pumpkins are often oddly shaped!
I cut my recipe in half, but you are more than fine if making an extra large batch for a Halloween party!
Not really anything exciting yet- until you start to melt the marshmallows. I use the stove-top method. Now, you can always add a mixture of red and yellow food coloring to get your orange color, but I just find it easier to use the Wilton gel colors. I find it also provides a more vibrant color, but it’s up to you which food color method you’d like to use. I added my coloring once the butter was melted and right before I put in my marshmallows. You could wait until after the marshmallows are melted, because it really doesn’t make much difference as long as you add it before the cereal.
You’ll want to stir that up really well to coat all the cereal in the marshmallow mixture.
Then the fun begins! While the mixture was still hot, I donned some food-safe gloves to protect my hands from the heat to and prevent my hands from getting messy. Yes, I prefer to wear gloves when digging in with my hands into anything. It’s not only easier for clean up, but I find it far more sanitary. So, don your gloves, or don’t, and form the mixture into balls. They can be any size you want, but don’t go too large. I found a golf ball size was perfect.
And piped on leaves. Some ‘pumpkins’ got two, others just one. Do whatever feels right. The amount of Tootsie Rolls and frosting will all depend on the size of your pumpkins. If you make them larger, you may want to use a whole Tootsie Roll inserted into the ball.
These are super easy, fun, and festive! As long as you let the mixture cool to be easier to handle- you could probably even have the kids help you out on this one!
1/2 stick of butter
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal (or similar brand)
Orange Food Color OR Red and yellow food color
Tootsie Rolls (halved)
Green Decorator Frosting
1- In a large pot or large bowl, melt butter completely. Do not brown.
2- Add food coloring
3- Stir in marshmallows over medium high heat or several 30 second intervals in the microwave, being sure to stir frequently (after each 30 second interval) until all marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat.
4- Slowly add the Rice Krispie cereal into the mixture, stirring to coat completely.
5- Carefully, as the mixture will be hot, use a scoop or your hands to form the marshmallow/cereal mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. You can go larger if you wish. Set on parchment to cool.
6- Once you’ve rolled all your balls and they’ve cooled, cut Tootsie Rolls in half to make the ‘stem’. Use 1/2 Tootsie Roll per pumpkin.
7- Pipe green frosting leaves onto the pumpkins as desired.