Simply, the BEST! Nutty, toasted, silky, crunchy browned butter and vanilla bean kicks up the standard rice crispy treat. Oh and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top…superb! I’m a total sucker for a rice crispy treat, it tends to be my go-to dessert when I need to make a lot in a short amount of time, they are always a hit and are pretty darn allergy tolerant.
Whew, summertime wears me out! And it just started! Akk!! I am finding it hard to focus on the blog while I get into my summer rhythm, which is of course a haphazard rhythm if anything. For a schedule and routine loving girl, it can make me a bit grumpy at times. But I’m trying to embrace my inner procrastinator. It’s working since I’m writing this post the night before it’s due!
I first heard about these from a friend who introduced me to this beautiful cookbook by Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston. We’re heading back to Boston later this summer, I so hope we can stop by one of her locations and sample some of her deliciousness!
I’ve modified it slightly, especially since Vanilla Beans have sky-rocketed in price, but the taste and flavors are still amazing.
Don’t be afraid of browning butter, even a newbie can do it, just watch it closely. For properly browned butter you should use unsalted butter as it contains less water and more milk solids, which is where you get the bulk of your deep, intense flavor. Here’s a great post on three variations and usage for browned butter. Want to read about the comparison between browning salted vs. unsalted butter? Check out this Cooks Illustrated test.
I also like to open my marshmallows and measure out my rice cereal so they are ready to go once the butter is ready.
Start with cold, unsalted butter in a large saucepan (large enough to contain your rice cereal). Heat over low heat until melted, occasionally give the pot a stir or a swirl. Once melted, add your vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.
TIP | Can you make this with salted butter? Yep, you sure can, the flavors might not be as deep, but I’ve done it and it’s still delicious.
The butter will start to bubble, rapidly, sounding a bit like a babbling brook. Be patient, the entire browning process will take about 5 minutes.
It’ll start foaming up more, with a softer, gentler almost “popping” kind of sound, shortly after it foams up you should start seeing it turn brown, the milk solids will become a dark caramel brown.
Don’t worry if you go too far, I did that once, thought I’d burnt and ruined it, but I couldn’t make myself throw those expensive ingredients away, so I cooled the butter & vanilla bean mixture and placed it in a container in the fridge. A few days later, I took it out of the fridge, took a sniff and much to my surprise it smelled fine, a little stronger than normal, but still so good. So I melted it and continued the recipe; amazingly enough they tasted marvelous! A few more speckles of darkened butter, but perfectly fine!
As soon as it’s browned, dump in your marshmallows and salt and begin stirring over low heat.
Stir until they are a beautiful, melty soup and all of the vanilla beans and browned beats are equally throughout the marshmallow mixture.
Once all of the marshmallows are completely melted and incorporated, remove from heat and pour in your rice cereal.
Using a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold the rice cereal into the marshmallow mixture. Look at those beautiful brown bits!!
Once all of your marshmallow mixture is incorporated into the rice cereal, scoop or pour it into your prepared pan. Spray a piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper with spray oil and lay on top of hot treats, smoothing and pressing gently to fill all corners and make it even. I asked my son to be my model for this shot! 16 year old hands are nicer than mine!
Allow to cool completely in pan, when ready to cut, invert or using parchment paper remove from pan onto cutting board. If you are anal like me, you might even get a ruler out making sure they are all the same size. Cut them into 12 squares and sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt or Fleur de Sel.
TIP | As an option, after cooling about 5 minutes, sprinkle some mini M & M’s on top and gently press into the treats.
Store in sealed container for up to a week, best within the first few days, but still quite tasty a week in, if they stay around that long. Nice to use as gifts for teachers, coaches, neighbors. I wrapped them in a strip of parchment paper and tied with some bakers twine. Place them in a cello bag and tie and you have a festive treat!
If you liked this browned butter recipe, try these!
Recipe lightly adapted from Epicurious.Print
- Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with oil, or spray pan well with oil.
- In a large saucepan (large enough to hold the marshmallows and cereal), melt butter over low heat.
- Once the butter is melted, pour in the vanilla bean paste (or scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, using the back edge of a knife) and place in melted butter.
- The butter will start to bubble, rapidly, sounding a bit like a babbling brook.
- It’ll start foaming up more, with a softer, gentler almost “popping” kind of sound, shortly after it foams up you should start seeing it turn brown, the milk solids will become a dark caramel brown.
- The whole process will take about 5 minutes, so be patient.
- Careful you don’t burn it, if you do see my notes in the post.
- Add the marshmallows into the melted butter and stir until completely melted and incorporated.
- Remove pan from heat and pour in rice cereal.
- Gently fold from bottom to top stirring the marshmallow into the rice cereal.
- Pour into prepared pan, using an oil sprayed piece of parchment or plastic wrap, lay on top and smooth down until even and the pan is filled.
- Allow to cool completely.
- Cut into 12 squares.
- Treats can be stored in an airtight storage container for up to a week, best within the first couple of days.
TIP | After cooling 5 minutes, sprinkle some Mini M & M’s on top and gently press down, cool completely and cut as directed.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I’d love to hear how it turned out, leave a comment below and share a picture of it on Instagram with the hashtag #thefreshcooky.
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