happy summer food: creamsicle cap'n crunch bar recipe


When I was in grammar school, summers were idyllic. I would wake up, throw on my little red swimsuit, a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, my Keds, grab some cereal and head outside on my bike with a dollar in my pocket.  We didn't have cel phones to reach out to each other but there must have been something in the air in that little town in Massachusetts. A pack of little girls all suddenly appeared outside on our bikes. After a morning of riding, hitting the children's library and exploring, we'd stop by the ravine and pick and eat blueberries until our lips were purple. Inevitably we would end up at someone's house just in time for lunch and an afternoon of swimming.

A few of my friends had pools and their moms were home. (My mom was a nurse who worked twelve hour shifts. I think now that it must have been such a relief to my mom that I was spending my days outside and supervised by a mom who would sit by the pool with us drinking Tab and reading a romance novel.) My friend's mom would make the pack of us Fluffernutters (it's a Massachusetts thing) or bologna or PB&J's with Rice Crispie or Cap'n Crunch Bars for dessert.

Sitting with my friends in the summer sun with our legs dangling in the pool as we ate homemade marshmallowy cereal bars is one of my all time favorite summer memories. Just the smell of chlorine or Cap'n Crunch makes me remember. So, when I was in the market last week and discovered limited edition Cap'n Crunch Orange Cream Pop, I knew exactly what I would make.

Orange Creamsicle is my favorite flavor of all time (our wedding cake was Creamsicle flavored!) and I thought this flavor would elevate this classic cereal/marshmallow dessert.

After making a batch and impatiently waiting for it to set and cool, I sat outside in the sun and I savored this orange vanilla treat. I closed my eyes and I was back there, with the sun on my shoulders, giggling with my girls and licking marshmallow off my fingers before diving in for an afternoon of Marco Polo.


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Happy Summer Food: Creamsicle Cap'n Crunch Bars
The classic treat with an orange vanilla flavor
Ingredients
  • 1 box Cap'n Crunch Orange Cream Pop Cereal
  • 1 16-ounce bag marshmallows
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • optional: 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons optional: orange sugar crystals
Instructions
Line a 13 x 9 casserole with parchment paper. (You can also grease the pan instead. However, using parchment paper, makes it easier to remove the bars as a whole and slice them on a cutting board.) Set aside. Add cereal to a large bowl and set aside.In a large non-stick pot, add marshmallows and butter, cooking on medium, stirring frequently. Once the marshmallows and butter have cooked down to a smooth consistency, add vanilla and orange extracts. Pour the marshmallow mixture over the cereal and mix. This is VERY sticky so coat a large spoon with non-stick spray or use your hands to mix, taking care not to crush the cereal.Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your hands and pat the cereal mixture down until it is packed firmly and evenly. Optional: melt white chocolate chips in double boiler and spoon over cereal bars followed by a sprinkling of orange sugar crystals. Cool in fridge for at least 2 hours. Remove from fridge, slice and enjoy on a sunny day. If this limited edition flavor is off the shelves when you want to make these, use regular Cap'n Crunch but increase vanilla to 1 tablespoon and orange extract to 1 teaspoon.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 bars