These brown butter rice krispies treats are a glammed-up version of the kid classic made with brown butter, whole as well as melted marshmallows and a sprinkle of sea salt.
These are the big, fat, chunky rice cereal treats that you see for sale at bakeries and coffee shops, only these are so much better because they’re fresh, buttery and full of both swirls of melted marshmallow and pockets of marshmallow pieces. Take your time with the brown butter to make sure you get the deepest flavor, but don’t take a phone call or multitask because browned butter goes from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. I also like a little hit of maple extract here to complement the browned butter, but it’s optional!
Don’t skip the bit of sea salt on top for an elegant finish. Also, this might seem a little fussy, but I do think the best treats come from an unopened box of cereal and very fresh marshmallows that aren’t sticking together in the package. I know, I know, it’s fussy, but I think you’ll be pleased if you make them just right.–Erin Mylroie
Slick your pan with butter. If you prefer thinner rice krispies treats, use a jelly roll pan. If you prefer thicker rice krispies treats, use a 9-by 13–inch (23-by 33–cm) pan, preferably one that has straight sides and not rounded corners.
Place 1 bag of your miniature marshmallows in the freezer. It’ll be in there for less than 10 minutes.
This isn’t the time to use up that old bag of marshmallows lurking at the back of the pantry that are all stuck together. Fresh marshmallows will be easier to distribute throughout the treats.
In a large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Increase the heat to medium-low so the butter melts, then foams, then turns a medium golden brown with brown specks. This should take somewhere in the vicinity of 4 minutes. Watch the butter carefully because you don’t want any burned black specks.
Turn off the heat and add the room-temperature bag of marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. If the marshmallows don’t fully melt, return the pot to very low heat and stir until fully melted.
Stir in the vanilla extract and, if using, the maple extract. Then stir in the salt. Quickly add the rice cereal and stir until well blended. Remove the marshmallows from the freezer and quickly stir them into the mixture. You want the frozen marshmallows to melt just a little but remain mostly intact.
Using slightly damp hands, gently press the treats into the prepared pan.
If you happen to have a second pan that’s the same size as the one you used for the treats, slick the bottom with butter and use it to evenly press the treats into the pan.
Sprinkle the top with a little sea salt. Let the treats rest for at least 90 minutes at room temperature so they have a chance to firm. Spray your knife with cooking spray or slick it with butter before cutting the treats into squares. Leftover treats (if there is such a thing) can be individually wrapped and frozen.