When thumbing through the pages of Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson I was just about knocked off my seat when I saw this recipe for Christmas Cornflake Wreaths. Lawson is a British cook, far more at home with savory pies and mincemeat than marshmallows and puffed cereal; what in the world was she doing making Rice Krispies Treats?
As it turns out, these Christmas Cornflake Wreaths are another one of Lawson's deliciously appealing ventures into the realm of bad taste that comes one a year. A stick of butter and a bag of mini marshmallows are the base for her semi-upscale version of this childhood pleaser. The puffed rice is replaced by corn flakes, adding a bit more corny flavor and an entirely different texture. The vanilla is assisted by almond extract and sesame seeds—not exactly kid's stuff.
Once the marshmallow mixture came together with the cornflakes, things got sticky. The directions advise you to pull a clementine-sized piece from the bowl, but my bare hands proved too sticky. I dove into the cabinet and found the least offensive oil to lubricate my hands with—canola in this instance. With my hands properly oiled hands I could form these mounds of cereal and marshmallow into festive rings.
After the wreaths were formed and Christmas sprinkles were sprinkled, I took a bite of one of Nigella's version of Rice Krispies Treats. The texture was familiar, but the taste was something else, predominantly nutty almond and sesame. This isn't the cereal-derived desserts that end up on a bake sale table; it's a nostalgic dessert that incorporates the sweet and complex joys of childhood desserts and the more complex flavors that we come to appreciate as we get older.
Win Nigella Christmas
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Nigella Christmas to give away this week.
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) soft butter
- 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups cornflakes
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds (optional)
- Christmas sprinkles to decorate
Put a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on a surface for the wreaths to sit and set on later.
In a generous-sized saucepan over a gentle heat, melt the butter, then add the marshmallows, stirring until both have smoothly combined.
Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the almond and vanilla extracts.
Add the cornflakes and sesame seeds (if you like them), gently crushing the cornflakes as you go and mixing well so that all are covered in creamy goo.