Once the marshmallow concoction is completely melted, add in some red and yellow food coloring until you get a nice, bold orange color. Once you have the color you want, mix in six cups of rice cereal and stir until completely mixed.
Wait a few minutes to allow the mixture to cool down enough to handle, but don’t allow it to harden.
Coat your hands in some sort of cooking oil, or cooking spray. This is key, otherwise you’ll end up with a sticky, unworkable mess on your hands.
Grab a small handful of the mixture and form it into a ball about the size of a clementine orange. Place the orange ball on some parchment paper, watch it fall apart and pick it up and continue forming into a ball once or twice more. OK, more like six more times.
For whatever reason, these bad boys don’t want to stay together, so you just have to keep at it. Get them as compact as possible without crushing all the bits of cereal and eventually they’ll hold firm. Because the balls don’t want to keep their shape, it makes it especially hard to form them into a true pumpkin shape, so just don’t worry about it.
Before the pumpkins completely harden into their final form, you’ll want to attach the Tootsie Roll stems.
The biggest lesson I learned from this project was that your microwave will spark if you try to soften Tootsie Rolls in it. Why? What’s in these little candies that could cause a microwave to shoot sparks? As if I needed another reason not to eat these things.
Without the benefit of being to warm up the Tootsie Rolls beforehand, it’s a little difficult to work them into shape. Just try rolling them a bit between the palms of your hands to warm them up and gradually pull them into the shape of a pumpkin stem. Gently press into the top of the crisped rice treat and if they’re both still warm enough, they should stick together just fine. Otherwise, feel free to use melted chocolate as an adhesive.
If you really want to get creative, draw on little vines with green icing.
• WHAT: Pumpkin-shaped rice cereal treats
• DIFFICULTY: Moderately
• TIME: 30 minutes or so
• RESULT: Pin it!
— Danielle Haynes
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