Here’s the truth: the classic recipe that’s been printed on the Rice Krispies box since 1940 is already a genius dessert. It’s ready in 10 minutes without heating the oven, using three ingredients you can find anywhere: cereal, marshmallows, butter. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that we tend to thumb past it in our mental recipe files in favor of newer, flashier prospects. But here’s another truth: most people will walk past all sorts of fancy cookies and tarts to get to the stack of crispy treats before the rest of us make off with them.
I discovered this recipe thanks to my aunt. I went on vacation with aunt this past holiday season and she brought these for dessert. As soon as I took a bite I knew she had done something different with the recipe. Sure enough these were a hit.
Recipe: Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Makes 16 treats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 10 oz. bag marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1⁄4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch cake pan. If you want to make it extra easy to pop out the treats, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two opposite sides for easier lifting when the bars are done.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until it browns. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden with brown bits and start to smell nutty. Be patient and don’t wander away—the bits will go from brown to black quickly, and you don’t want black.
Turn off the heat as soon as the bits in the butter are a deep nut brown color. Immediately add the marshmallows and stir until smooth. The residual heat from the pot should be enough to fully melt the marshmallows, but if not, return the heat to low and cook until the marshmallows are completely smooth.
Remove the pot from the heat and pour in the cereal and salt. Stir well to make a big sticky mass, then quickly scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Flatten the gooey mix evenly with a spatula or buttered waxed or parchment paper, pressing into the edges and corners.
Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, and cut into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
1- Use a fresh bag of marshmallows, stale old ones will make the bars tough and chewy.
2-It’s important that you don’t overcook the marshmallow butter mixture. If the heat is too high it will start to caramelize the sugar in the marshmallows with which also make the bars tough.