Simply, the BEST! Browned Butter Rice Crispy Treats are 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.
BROWNED BUTTER RICE CRISPY TREATS
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.
HOW TO BROWN BUTTER
Don’t be afraid of browning butter, even a newbie can do it, just watch 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. That said, I have used salted butter many times because I don’t let a little salt get in my way!
I open my marshmallows and measure out my rice cereal so they are ready to go once the butter is ready.
DOUBLE THE RECIPE
Start with cold, unsalted butter in a large pot (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.
This image shows using Vanilla Bean Paste – 1 teaspoon equals 1 vanilla bean.
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, 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.
I thought I ruined my browned butter once, 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 nuttier than usual, but still so good. I re-melted it and though a little more dark specks were in the treats, they tasted marvelous!
As soon as it’s browned, dump in your marshmallows and sea salt and begin stirring over low heat.
Stir until they are a beautiful, melty glop with all the ingredients mixed 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!
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Don’t press too hard, you don’t want solid compressed treats, but you do want them to stick.
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
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 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, tie with twine and you have a festive treat!
If you like browned butter, try these!
- Browned Butter Sugar Cookie Bars with Salted Caramel Frosting
- Pumpkin Bread with Browned Butter Maple Frosting
- Browned Butter Glaze
Recipe lightly adapted from Epicurious.
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- 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.