Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Salted Browned Butter Crispy Treats

It's probably the time of the holidays where you're tired of baking but still have parties to attend, so these are your ideal potluck contributions: fast, inexpensive, and popular. I decided to make them because I had little time and lots of parties, and they disappeared like mad. Rice Krispie Treats might seem a little boring, but these have a secret weapon: browned butter.

The browning of the butter, and well, the doubling of it (!) plus a tad of coarse salt is the winning trick. This means a little bit of caramely-nutty-salty-chewy goodness in every bite, mmmmm.

Thanks to smittenkitchen for this and all her other consistently good recipes!

Salted Browned Butter Crispy Treats

Makes 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. A piece of waxed or parchment paper sprayed with oil works to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works as well.

Shower with sprinkles if you want some color, let cool, and cut into squares.

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