I can’t be the only one who strolls through the cereal aisle and pauses at each box to consider its crispy treat potential. I mean, Cinnamon Toast Crunch crispy treats? Yes. Just yes. Those are definitely happening sometime soon. And don’t get me started on the Reese’s Puffs possibilities because I will have heart palpitations and I will keel over. Also, oh my gosh, Cookie Crunch. YOU GUYS.
What I really need is to be left alone for a day in a giant laboratory with a large pot of melting marshmallows and a katrillion bowls filled with different crunchy cereals. To experiment. FOR SCIENCE.
Truth is, though, with Halloween coming up I’ve been getting nostalgic for the classics. And good old-fashioned crispy treats just aren’t good old-fashioned crispy treats unless they contain KRISPIES. Besides, whoever invented crispy treats (I’m looking at you, Kellogg marketing team), knew what they were doing. Rice Krispies just happen to have the perfect size, shape, and crunch for optimal marshmallow interaction.
Doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with them, though. My go-to is an adaptation of Deb Perelman’s salted brown butter rice crispy treat recipe, a nuttier, gooier, and, of course, saltier take on the classic. It’s your average crispy treat’s refined, elegant, European second-cousin.
Take my word for it: Once you make them this way, you won’t dream of microwaving your ‘mallows ever again.
Salted Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats
THE CLASSIER CRISPY TREAT
What you’ll need:
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter (this is just a tablespoon less than one stick!)
- 1 10-ounce bag of marshmallows
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 6 cups Rice Krispies (a 12-ounce box contains approximately 12 cups)
What you’ll do:
- Coat a medium-sized square or rectangular cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a huge soup pot. Stir it constantly, watching as it melts (yay!), then foams (not quite there!), then turns gold (almost!), and finally transforms, bit by bit, into little copper-colored particles. This means you’ve browned it. Woohoo! Work quickly as soon as you see the first brownish-reddish bits beginning to appear, because if you aren’t careful, they’ll quickly go from brownish-reddish to black. Burnt butter ≠ brown butter.
- When you see those particles forming, stir in the marshmallows, leaving the pot on the heated stove.
- As soon as your marshmallows are completely melted, turn off the heat and add the cereal and salt together, stirring as you go. It’s important that you don’t throw all the salt in by itself at one time because it might not distribute properly.
- Time to work quickly again! Spread into your prepared pan, making sure to get it into all the corners, then use a piece of waxed paper to flatten the whole thing out by pressing the top down firmly.
- Let the whole thing cool before cutting, but whatever you do, don’t chuck it into the fridge to make the cooling process go faster. In fact, these treats should not go anywhere near the refrigerator. The butter will harden up and you’ll be left with rock-solid squares. (Learn from my mistakes. I’ve done this. TWICE.)
- Try to eat just one!