I should be writing about Oxford today, but last night was crazy, and I never got around to sending myself the pictures, which is the story of my life. I went out to dinner last minute, and was running around doing chores before that. When we got back from dinner, we watched the Democratic Convention, and while listening to Hillary Clinton accept the nomination, my heart felt lighter – in a big way because now I do feel like girls can do anything. And we’ll see what happens in November.
But the other thing that happened while I listened to Hillary speak is that I made rice crispy treats. I’ve got a picnic for my division at work today, and it’s potluck. So I wisely said I would bring my favorite (and locally famous) rice crispy treats. Because mine are the best if I do say so myself. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen nearly 7 years ago (!!!) and still use it to this day. The recipe itself is not all that different from the one on the box of cereal or the bag of marshmallows. What makes it different is how you treat the butter when it melts. Instead of throwing in the marshmallows right away, you let the butter brown. This makes the flavor of the treats that much nuttier and warmer. And then you throw in a little sea salt, and it just makes the flavor pop. I shouldn’t have to extol the virtues of sweet with salty.
The best part about this recipe is that it’s so fast. The time from putting butter in the pan to spreading the sticky mixture in a buttered dish was five minutes, if that. I got to sit down and watch politicians kick balloons like goofballs while they cooled. I cut the treats, put them in a big Rubbermaid container I appropriated from a summer sublet (if we meet in person, ask me about that sublet. It was ridiculous). And soon, I take these treats to a picnic and have people go, “Wow – these are better than normal ones!” They’re that good. And now you can have the “secret recipe” too. Go forth and impress people, even when you’re running on 5 hours of sleep.
Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Yield: 16 2-inch squares or 32 1- x 2-inch small bars
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)
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. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.
Let cool, cut into squares.