When I studied abroad in Budapest (2 years ago now -- wow, how time flies), I had a professor who would give us chocolate whenever we had a test. He believed that chocolate gave us brain power so while we were trying to focus and concentrate on figuring out the answers, he would be handing out 3 to 4 pieces of chocolate. I had no problem with this. I love chocolate and especially European chocolate -- nom.
I decided to do this with my Algebra 2 students. They had a test today and instead of handing out chocolate, I made them these Rice Krispy Treats. Last week, we had gone over a word problem involving cereal and it somehow led into a discussion about cereal bars, so it seemed fitting! I made two batches so I could share with some of the teachers as well. I'll have to try and keep this up as much as I can. Even though it was a 3-day weekend and I had all day Monday to make these, I think that soon I will be a little less busy and have time on Sundays to make more treats.
You might be wondering what is so special about these Rice Krispy Treats. It's probably just like any other recipe out there, right? But it's not! First off, the recipe is from Smitten Kitchen so you know there's gotta be some delicious twist to it. Second, read the title. Salted. Brown Butter. I didn't understand what was so great about brown butter at first because I wasn't doing it correctly, but after making a couple more recipes with brown butter, I finally got that nice nutty color. Now I know why it makes anything extraordinary. And the salt. I love the sweet and salty combination. I don't know if I could ever eat plain ol' Rice Krispy Treats anymore. They all need to taste like this. I hope you enjoy these as much as I, my students, and my fellow teachers did.
Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats [Makes 16 2-inch squares]
From Smitten Kitchen
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-oz bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-oz 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. I liked to use a piece of waxed or parchment paper that I’ve sprayed with oil to press it firmly and evenly into the edges and corners, though a silicon spatula works almost as well.
Let cool, cut into squares and get ready to make new friends.