Ahhh rice crispies. I so clearly remember making these as a child. My mom had the perfect yellow pyrex mixing bowl that was big enough to fit 9 cups of rice crispies and a bag of mallows, but small enough to fit in the microwave. We’d put the butter and marshmallows in the bowl and microwave them until they got puffy and melty, then stir in the rice crispies. After we transferred the gooy blob from the bowl to a 9X13 pan, I would scrape the sticky leftovers from the sides of the bowl – I swear the leftovers are better than the actual bar, I can’t explain why.
These rice crispies take a new twist on a nostalgic classic. The recipe is out of my new favorite recipe book Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe, I am seriously obsessed, and you may get a few more recipes from it in coming weeks. No but really, this is the best baking book ever and you should really get it.
Browning the butter makes all the difference in this recipe. Suddenly, that super sweet stickiness that we all loved as elementary school children has depth. Using a vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract also helps to dress up this after school snack. I had some extra chocolate buttercream in the refrigerator (I literally always have some kind of leftover frosting, sometimes we just eat it with graham crackers… shhh), so I topped my bars with that. You could cover them in melted chocolate, or ganache, or some kind of peanut butter concoction, or just leave them naked – whatever you enjoy. I had to add rainbow sprinkles, I never do that, but it just seemed necessary this time.
Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats
Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook
Makes a 9X13 pan
- 1 cup (two sticks) butter
- 1/2 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- A one lb. bag marshmallows
- 8 cups crispy rice cereal
- Topping of your choice
Measure out your cereal into a super big bowl and grease a 9×13″ pan.
In a large pan/skillet melt the butter, it will bubble for about 5 minutes and when the bubbling stops you should have nicely browned melted butter. It will smell nutty and amazing. Immediately add all the marshmallows (you see now why you needed a large skillet) and stir constantly until they are completely melted – Pete was totally convinced the mallows were going to have some kind of volcano effect and overflow all over our kitchen, they did not.
As soon as possible, get the mixture into the greased 9×13″ pan, use a greased piece of plastic wrap to smooth out the top and push the gooy blob out to the edges of the pan. Allow to set for about 1 hour.
Top with whatever you like, get creative!