boo, Halloween

Halloween was relatively disappointing this year. It snowed (what!?) on the ‘party night’ so plans were a little helter skelter; I didn’t have time to come up with some spectacular ensemble; barely anyone dressed up in my office; and to top it off, I was psyched for herds of trick-or-treaters in my new place, and we got approximately seven kids. While the prospect of two full bags of candy would be a dream for some of you candy gluttons, it doesn’t do much for me.

The saving grace was one of the few kiddies who did come to the house — a little Winnie the Pooh, barely 3 years old, who fell in love with the Tootsie Roll Pop he carefully selected from our giant candy bowl, took a few moments to contemplate his next move (Kit Kat) and when offered another go at the bowl, held up his tiny hand and said, “No, no — no more.” Immediately melted my Halloween jaded heart.

I did dabble in the holiday spirit earlier this weekend when I purchased a box of General Mills Monster Cereal on a whim. Fell prey to that little Boo Berry face looking at me with those big Boo Berry eyes. I’d never even eaten the cereal before, but decided to turn it into an alliterative treat for my friends’ party: Boo Berry Bars.

The Monster Cereals include the well-known Count Chocula (chocolate), Frankenberry (strawberry) and Boo Berry (blueberry). I was surprised to find out these cereals have been around since 1971 and ’72. Another little fun fact: This is the first year these cereals are being produced only during the Halloween season and not during the rest of the year.

♦1-1/2 c. Boo Berry cereal (or other General Mills Monster Cereal)
3 tbs. butter

1 c. medium-sized marshmallows

Place wax paper down in an 8×8 baking dish. Cut butter into fourths and toss in big bowl with all marshmallows. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, and then on 15-second intervals until marshmallows melted. Give a  quick mix, add cereal and mix well.  Spread mixture evenly on wax paper and let set. It’s going to be extremely sticky at first, so if you’re in a rush to get out the door (like I was), give it five minutes in the freezer, remove, press down with spatula to smooth top and condense bars. Once completely cooled, remove wax paper and cut bars.

Total time? 5  minutes prep, 10-30 minutes cooling/setting.
Cost? $2.69 box of cereal, 89¢ bag of marshmallows
Overall success relative to expectations? 7 out of 10. The first time I made these, I used the entire bag of marshmallows, and it was too much. You could also use the entire box of cereal, but I wanted to reserve a bit to try the old-fashioned way — for breakfast. I also used a loaf pan instead of an 8×8, and my bars were way too thick. Either way, these are a fun Halloween spin on the traditional Rice Krispie treat that’s super easy to make and the kids will love.

Sidenote: I know this may be in poor taste — especially for a food blog — but I was doing some research on GM Monster Cereal, found this entry on Wikipedia and launched into a fit of puerile laughter: “Franken Berry was very popular when first introduced possibly because the initial batches of the cereal used a dye that didn’t break down in the body, causing many children’s feces to be bright pink, a symptom sometimes referred to as ‘Frankenberry Stool.’


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