A Big Ol’ Slab of Treat

Mar 17, 2010

These guys may look like they're discussing something really serious and important, but it's all about a giant Rice Krispie Treat.

The world’s largest Rice Krispie Treat — a 10,460-pound creation that seemed spawned from Willy Wonka’s factory — came to be on Sunday on the field outside the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge.

A new TLC show called Mega Bites, hosted by San Diego restaurateur and Top Chef season-three finalist Brian Malarkey, created the treat for its pilot episode. Proceeds from a simultaneous community carnival and from donations for pieces of the treat went toward the Community Center’s children’s art programs, a light in La Cañada’s grim year of fires and floods.

“TLC put a team together, and we discussed options of what to make,” said Scott Stukel, a Deep Space Network senior engineer for NASA. Yes, a rocket scientist helped construct the world’s largest Rice Krispie Treat. “We wanted it to be safe and doable. We had to do it in a tight time period.”

Producer Mark Herwick wanted to relate the food to the children’s cause. “What better treat to represent that than the Rice Krispie Treat?” he said.

The massive undertaking also required the expertise of certified research chef Todd Menaker. He knew that making a treat from 4,000 pounds of Rice Krispies (donated by Kellogg’s) and 7,500 pounds of marshmallows (donated by Campfire Marshmallows) could not be accomplished on your ordinary stove. “We couldn’t have people making them by the pan and then washing pans out a thousand times,” said Menaker. “A lot of the products I make are done sous-vide, and it got my mind churning.”

Ultimately, the butter and marshmallows were cooked sous-vide, a method that requires ingredients to be in an air-tight bag that is then placed in hot water for cooking. The cooking took place in large tubs on the field, while Stukel oversaw the building of a huge wooden mold for the treat, which was then topped with giant marshmallows and fondant sprinkles.

The author taking home her slab o' treat.

Volunteers didn’t start working until Saturday afternoon, at least a day behind schedule, and it was presented at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, accompanied by cheers and a quickly formed line to get a piece of the treat in exchange for a donation. Barely a dent had been made in the massive dessert by the end of the day. Attendees (including yours truly, who isn’t really a fan of Rice Krispie Treats), took home large chunks of it, since there was so much left.

On Monday, the production company hired to produce the show had removed the giant treat from the field, and the Community Center is unsure of its fate. Legal and health concerns may have prevented it from being given away — everyone who got a piece on Sunday had to sign a hold-harmless release — but hopefully the new Guinness Book of World Records holder was able to snap, crackle and pop into more lives and stomachs.



Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena