Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

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I know…I know…if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  Rice Krispie Treats definitely don’t need fixing, but when I saw this recipe in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I just had to try them.  I love salty-sweet things (see Potato Chip Cookies and Margarita Cookies) and lately, I’ve loved anything with browned butter.  I made the most awesome Brown Butter Apple Tart not too long ago and last summer a Brown Butter and Raspberry Tart.

In the SK cookbook, we get a cute little history of Rice Krispie Treats… they were invented in 1928 by Mildred Day of the home economics department at the Kellogg Company.  What a genius Mildred was!  And such an easy little treat to make.  I think they may have been one of the very first things I learned to cook when I was maybe 12.  Do you remember that commercial where the mom is in the kitchen reading some steamy novel and there’s a plate of Rice Krispie Treats in front of her…her family is calling her from the other room and she’s like, “I’ll be right there.”  Then she finishes the book, splashes some flour on her face to make it look like she’s been slaving over these treats and then brings them into her family and they are all appreciative and think she’s just the best mom ever.  I loved that.

Okay, so back to these little gems.  Like I said, Mildred’s original recipe definitely doesn’t need fixing, but the addition of the nutty browned butter and just a smidgen of sea salt just elevates these to such a higher level.  I made them for a potluck at work a couple weeks ago and my coworkers are still talking about them.  (One even offered to pay me to make some for him!)  You’ll be thanking me (uh, Smitten Kitchen) for “fixing” these!!  I think even Mildred would be happy.

 Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Makes 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars

INGREDIENTS

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

DIRECTIONS

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. You can use a piece of waxed or parchment paper sprayed with oil or spread with butter (even better, save the wrapper from the butter and use that!) to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.

Let cool completely and then cut into squares.  Devour.

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