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Rice crispy treats were not my favorite thing as a kid… I know, I know. I was a strange one. If that threw you, brace your self for this bomb. I also did not like Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, or that pink, sugary milk that they left at the bottom of the bowl. Where’s my Crunchy Corn Bran? (Yes, that was an actual cereal, that I LOVED. Funny note? Very few people my age know of this cereal, but Ryan knew of it and liked it! However, he also still likes to eat Reese’s Puffs for breakfast, so we aren’t 100% on the same cereal page.)
What are ya gonna do?
Part One: We discuss my issues with the popular treat
My beef with those popular marshmallow squares were that they usually more closely resembled bricks than any sort of party snack. They were dense, tough and jawbreakingly chewy. More than once I scraped up the roof of my mouth trying to gnaw thru one of those bad boys. And, to add insult to injury, rice crispy treats were just so damn sweet! So I said bye bye bye to that part of my childhood and gave up on the crunchy, sugar bars.
Part Two: In which I go on an alcohol induced tangent
But, as is my nature, I will unexplainably start to crave something I otherwise would never think to pursue. It’s how I got started on my beer drinking phase – I entered the grocery store looking for a pint of ice cream and I left with a six pack of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. No idea why, or what came over me – a person who had previously been repulsed by even the smell of beer. A switch just flipped, right there in the freezer aisle of Safeway, and a beer enjoyer I became.
Beer has of late lost most of it’s appeal to me – although I still love to do tastings with my brother-in-law, an avid and enthusiastic beer connoisseur, who manages to procure some fairly amazing offerings. Since then, I’ve moved on to finer spirits, such as: tequila. I’ll take a good sipping tequila or a refreshing Paloma over just about any other “adult beverage” you could possible offer.
Anywaaaay… back to the marshmallows!
I wanted to repair the rift between myself and the Treat. The first step was to acknowledge our issues and then figure out how to reconcile those differences.
Increase the Marshmallow Factor.
How do you solve a problem like dry, tough cereal treats?
More of one thing, less of another! That would be the basic ratio. In this case I upped the amount of mini marshmallow puffs used and hit on the idea of using the left over marshmallow creme that had been languishing in my cupboard since a very ill-advised Christmas fudge fiasco months earlier. As a final flourish, I decided to hold back some of the marshmallows from the melting pot to scatter thru out the dry cereal. When finished, the unmelted ‘mallows become springy little pockets of joy and add depth and texture to a previously one note bar.
If you increase the amount of marshmallow you are going to have to increase the amount of butter. I thought, while I was at it why not make it brown butter!? Success. I can confidently add rice crispy treats to the list of things brown butter absolutely belongs in. I finished off the makeover with a dash of salt and a splash of Mexican vanilla. Voilà! The result of a few easy changes and a couple added minutes? A gooey, silky, salty-sweet bar with a gorgeous depth of flavor and a crispy crunch that will not injure you.
Salted Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats
- 5 oz butter, salted (10 TBS)
- 24 oz mini marshmallows (12 cups)
- 1 cup marshmallow creme
- 1/2 tsp salt sea salt or pink himalayan salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 cups rice crispy cereal
- Let's get sticky!
- Pour the rice crispy cereal into a large heat proof bowl along with 2 cups of the mini marshmallows. Mix together.
- In a large pot, brown the butter!
- When the butter is browned remove from heat and mix in the remaining marshmallows, the marshmallow creme, the salt and vanilla. Fold together. The residual heat from the butter should start to melt the marshmallows. If nessesary return the marshmallow mixture to low heat and stir gently until the marshmallows have all melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the marshmallow goo into the cereal and mix together. A silicone spatula is my weapon of choice for this particular task. Don't use your bare hands, that will just lead to a frustrating situation in which a majority of the cereal will take up seemingly permanent residence between your fingers.
- Quickly spread into prepared pan and press gently to even out.
- Let cool, cut into bars, squares, triangles, or any manner of trapezoid/quadrangle you desire – what ever shape you choose prepare to revisit your childhood in a super sophisticated flashback!
Notes from my kitchen
Make sure you don’t over cook the marshmallows – low and slow is the way to go. Marshmallows that are exposed to excess heat start to loose their stretchy-springy nature and when they re-solidify its usually in a more crunchy, ridged form.
This recipe makes enough to FILL a 9×13 pan with some leftover. the excess can be pressed into a loaf pan, a cake round, cupcake tins, or rolled into bite sized pieces and eaten like popcorn!
When pressing the mixture into the pan, do so firmly but gently. Cramming it all down will lend to it becoming a denser, tougher bar.
Using a scrap of parchment paper will help press the sticky mess into submission without it adhering to your hand.
Have fun! Enjoy!