Heart shaped chocolate crispy rice bars: perfect last minute Valentine’s treats

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…. Still talking about Valentine’s Day…

Even if this year Valentine’s Day it is going to  happen on a Saturday, that doesn’t mean that kids are not celebrating it at school this week…

My daughters are both having Valentine’s celebrations at school this Friday, and since their teachers have invited parents to provide a small treat for each kid in their class (a total of 32) I decided to make heart shaped chocolate rice crispy bars!!

I wanted to make something inexpensive, quick, cute, and most of all, that kids would enjoy.  So, to make use of some leftover candy, I made these hearts yesterday, froze them, and Thursday night I will just need to put each heart in paper cups, and wrap them in Valentines bags.  I’m sure the kiddos will love them!

Just to share with you more about Italian habits, I would like to point out that Italians don’t make Valentine’s Day an event for kids.  February in Italy is the month we celebrate “CARNEVALE”, and kids are too busy thinking about how to dress up and which parade to go, than paying attention to Valentine’s Day!

Italian CARNEVALE is such a fun tradition!  Every town arranges parades with floats, and there are special treats

made just during this period like “Crostoli” and “Frittelle”.

The most famous and beautiful place to celebrate Carnevale is Venice, where this tradition is very old

and where you can admire people dressed up in historical (and original) costumes.

But honestly, I love the idea of teaching kids about Valentine’s Day, a day where we remember to celebrate LOVE in all its expressions.

Teaching the importance of LOVE is something that will always pay back!

INGREDIENTS (for about 40 hearts)

      2 sticks unsalted butter                           200 gr. burro

                                      7 oz. dark chocolate                            200 gr. cioccolato fondente

                       1/2 cup sugar                                  100 gr. zucchero

                                        3 tbs. honey                                           3 cucchiai da tavola di miele

16 MINI twix cookie bars                               4 Mars

                                  10 oz. crispy rice                                   1 confezione riso soffiato

DIRECTIONS

In a big sauce pan, chop the chocolate and the MINI Twix cookie bars in small piece, add the sugar, honey and butter and melt all the ingredients together at medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon.

In few minutes you’ll obtain a chocolate cream.

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Turn the heat off and add gradually the crispy rice into the chocolate. Stir until all the rice is covered in chocolate.

When the mixture is still warm, give to the rice the shape you prefer: you can make a loaf, pouring the mixture in a aluminium foil;  you can make a big bar pouring the mixture in a rectangular dish; or you can make many small hearts, by using a cookie cutter (the one I used is about 2 x 2 inches).

Once you have given to the mixture a shape, put it in the freezer,

and enjoy it whenever your sweet tooth is calling!

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

TIPS:

– To make this recipe in Italy, we use a kind of Bar called “MARS” which are made almost completely with caramel. Since I didn’t find these bars here, I substitute it with Twix, but I avoided adding the “cookie” part of the Twix to the mixture, and I kept just the caramel and chocolate.

– This recipe could be ideal for a thematic birthday party, since you can give the rice the shape you want;

– While “shaping” the rice, if it doesn’t keep the shape, just put the mixture on a medium heat for few seconds, so it becomes sticky again, and easy to mold.

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