The Rice Krispies Treat Challenge Returns to America’s Test Kitchen

We abandoned the popcorn and got back to our roots.

Published May 22, 2016.

To celebrate the completion of filming for each new season of America’s Test Kitchen TV (We just wrapped on season 17!), we like to host an in-house cooking competition in which we pit teams of test cooks against one another for test kitchen bragging rights. While last year’s Popcorn Challenge was a fun change of pace, we decided to get back to our roots this year and reinstate the infamous Rice Krispies Treat Challenge.

The competition has a reputation for getting heated (all in good fun, of course), and there’s no one who gets more into the competitive spirit than Cook’s Country executive food editor Bryan Roof (see video below for proof).

Could Cook’s Country’s entry live up to the hype? Below you’ll find the competition. But first, the rules:

1. No pre-testing before the day of the competition (May 19, 2016).

2. Only one representative from each team may cook at a time—but they may tag in and out with other team members as many times as they’d like.

3. Grocery orders for additional ingredients must be kept to less than $20 per team.

4. All entries must be completed and ready to consume by 12pm on Thursday, May 19th. Each team must submit 12 individual portions for the panel of 12 judges.

5. The only ingredient that must be included in the treats is Rice Krispies.

The Treats

The Photo Team, “Gimme S’Mo”


Ingredient list: Graham crackers, milk chocolate, smoked marshmallow, torched marshmallow, Rice Krispies. One judge noted, “S’mores flavor was ON POINT!”

The Kitchen Operations Team, “Almond Trilogy”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, toasted almonds, brown butter, amaretto sea foam candy, bittersweet chocolate, Marcona almonds. One judge said, “The salt <3.” The salt indeed.

Book Team #1, “Rhubie Krispies”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, ricotta, mascarpone, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, rhubarb gel, toasted sesame seeds. One judge wrote, “Probably the most refreshing Rice Krispies treat I’ve ever had. The ricotta grew on me!”

Book Team #2, “A Hal-a-va Good Treat”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, marshmallows, brown butter, sugar, cream, halva caramel, salt, sesame oil, bittersweet chocolate, cream of tartar, sesame seeds, egg whites, corn syrup. One judge wrote, “More than a snack. A dessert! Would order at a restaurant.”

The Cook’s Science Team, “CANDYBAR?”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, brown butter, cornflake and hazelnut ganache, smoked maple-bourbon chewy caramel, 60% dark chocolate. One judge said, “The box was a cute touch. Smoky flavor, wow!”

The Cook’s Illustrated Team, “Cheech Bars”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, peanut butter, sugar, condensed milk, butter, corn syrup, peanuts, milk chocolate, salt. One judge exclaimed, “The presentation here was great.”

The Cook’s Country Team, “Cereal Killahz”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, peanut butter mousse, Cocoa Pebble crumble, caramel salt, peanut butter ganache. One judge wrote, “Brilliant! Better than a Reese’s.”

The TV Production Team, “Bourbon Street Special”


Ingredient list: Rice Krispies, butter, thyme, sugar, marshmallows, peach, almonds, mascarpone, eggs, lemon, heavy cream, brown sugar, bourbon. Of this treat, one judge simply stated, “Yum!”

The Winner

After tasting all eight treats, evaluating their appearance, texture, and flavor, the panel of judges declared a winner: Cook’s Country’s Cereal Killahz.


Here’s what some members of the winning team had to say of their victory:

“The Cook’s Country teammates were already winners in my book, but I’m especially proud of their victory this week. Why they continue to allow me to count myself as a member of the team I’ll never know, but I’m uncommonly glad that they do.”

-Tucker Shaw, Executive Editor for Cook’s Country

“This was a tough Krispie competition. The other competitors brought their A-game and had some amazing-looking and tasting treats. And in the heat of it there were a few times I thought we’d fail—I got so stressed I actually sent myself an email reminder to never do it again. But now that all is said and done, I’m quite proud. And we’ve begun planning for next year.”

-Morgan Bolling, Associate Editor for Cook’s Country

Which Rice Krispies treat would you most want to sink your teeth into? Let us know in the comments!

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