Last year while I was searching the internet for Halloween party ideas, I came across a recipe to make a witch hat out of Rice Krispies Treats. When I saw the witch hat, I instantly knew I would want to make a version of this recipe at some point and I finally had an occasion to do so for a friend's birthday celebration. Although my friend loves to bake all kinds of wonderful desserts, has had the opportunity to dine on fancy desserts from many high end restaurants, and has even spent a week (with me) at the French Pastry School making pastries, she'd still say her favorite dessert of all time is a simple Rice Krispies Treat. When I presented her with the birthday party hat, she was thrilled.
The original recipe for the witch hat incorporates dark chocolate into the traditional Rice Krispies Treat ingredient list. The chocolate not only gives the hat a deep brown color it also adds some stability to the towering treat. I wanted a brightly colored hat, so I used white chocolate chips and food coloring, instead.
I decorated my hat using Starburst Fruit Chews because I'd seen these candies used to decorate cupcakes and wanted to give it a try. I have to say the kids at the party loved eating the candy decorations, but I did not love all of the effort and time it took to unwrap 60 candies and microwave each one individually, so it was soft enough to flatten, roll out, and cut. I wish I would have just bought Airheads Taffy - they are already flat. But honestly, if I were to do this recipe again, I'd spend 10 minutes making modeling chocolate and use it for the decorations. It's so much easier to roll out and personally I think it would taste better.
Birthday Hat Rice Krispies Treat adapted from http://www.ricekrispies.com/
decorations: 50-60 Starburst Fruit Chews
or use Airhead Taffy, salt water taffy, or modeling chocolate
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
pizza wheel or knife
food handling gloves, optional but very useful
Prepare your decorations first by heating one or two Starburst Fruit Chews in the microwave on defrost for 5-7 seconds, flipping them over half way through the cycle. Flatten candy slightly then roll it out thin using a rolling pin. Note: If you heat several candies at once, by the time you get to rolling them all out, they aren't soft anymore.
Use up to three different size round cookie cutters to cut polka dots out of 20 flattened candies. I was able to get three different sized dots out of each candy. My smallest round cutter is only 1/2" in diameter. I found it in a set of gumpaste cutters at the craft store. If you don't have one of those, you can use the large end of a pastry tip to make small dots, or just make larger dots.
Use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut 1/4" wide strips out of the remaining candies. Then cut 6 of each of the four color strips (yellow, pink, orange, red) in half.
Spread about a tablespoon of the marshmallow mixture around the edge your cakeboard. Press a short strip of candy into the marshmallow, allowing it to hang over the edge by about a half an inch. Set another candy, overlapping slightly, next to the first piece. Continue to go around the entire board. Add about a tablespoon of the marshmallow to the center of the board.
Re-heat the marshmallow for 20 seconds on high. Add blue food coloring and stir. Add more coloring until you reach the desired shade. Stir in Rice Krispies until well blended. Allow to cool a few minutes.
Scoop all of the rice krispie mix out of the bowl and begin to form it into a cone (this is where I like to wear food handling gloves.) Set the mix onto the center of the candy covered cake board. Press it down and use your hands to smooth out the bottom edge. Shape it into a nice pointed cone. Decorate the hat by pressing the candy polka dots onto the cone.
Use the remaining 1/4" wide strips to make a pom pom for the top of the hat. Layer the strips criss crossing each other in a circular pattern until you have about an inch tall pile of candy. Skewer through the center of the pile with a toothpick.
Press the toothpick into the top of the hat until the bottom strip of candy touches the hat. Use your fingers to curl up the ends of each strip of candy, bending them slightly to form a rounded pom pom. You'll notice the candies on the left haven't been curled, yet.
You can make this Rice Krispies Treat Birthday Party Hat a day or two ahead of your party, but I wouldn't do it too much earlier than that . To serve the hat, we just turned it on it's side and cut round slices, then cut those into smaller pieces. The candy fringe on the bottom of the birthday hat stuck to the hat not the board which was great. The kids particularly enjoyed those pieces.
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