The ULTIMATE Rice Krispie Treats
The ULTIMATE Rice Krispie Treats- These are not your mama’s cereal bars thanks to upgraded ingredients like brown butter, toasted marshmallows, and fine sea salt.
March 4, 2022 by Nicole Collins
They just get you.
We all know moms have the highest level of super powers. But every now and then, my mom still surprises me.
I call my mom every night after work. Some nights we both have a lot to say. Some nights, it’s a quick “hi” and “bye”.
Now, let me preface this by saying that I did not get my adventurous tastebuds from my mom. I’ve talked about this here before, but she greets a lot of my recipe descriptions with an “eww” or a “yuck”. It’s not me, it’s her. And, we both know that.
So for this reason, sometimes I downplay food that I’ve made. She’ll ask what I did that day. I’ll tell her I tested some recipes. She’ll ask what I made. And, I’ll give her the most basic description. If it’s something I know she’d like or eat, I’ll give her more details. But, I lose her when I start talking about things like truffle gnocchi with burrata…if you know what I mean.
But the other night, I casually said in passing that I made some rice krispie treats that day. That’s it. I didn’t even say I was testing a recipe. And, totally unprompted, she says “what did you do special to them?”
Talk about a proud moment. She knew I wasn’t over here making off the box rice krispie treats. She knew I added my own delicious flare. And as a result, that’s what we get to make together today.
So today, we’re making The ULTIMATE Rice Krispie Treats!
Now listen, I know that’s a big claim. But, let me tell you…these are not yo mama’s rice krispie treats. The ingredients are the same. The theory is the same. But, we’re elevating the ingredients just a smidge to end up with the most delicious outcome.
So, let’s get to it!
The traditional rice krispie treat has 3 ingredients: butter, marshmallows, and cereal. That’s it! And, we’re not straying too far from those ingredients. But, what we are doing is deepening the flavor of those ingredients by giving them a little roasty toastiness. And since we all know that color equals flavors, the golden color that we’re going to coax out of some butter and marshmallows are where the magic of these treats begin.
Here’s the most important part of this recipe: mise en place or gathering, measuring, and prepping all of our ingredients before we start cooking. Because once we turn on the stovetop and the broiler, things move fast. So, it’s super important to have everything prepared in advance for this recipe, or you’re going to run into trouble. Have your cereal measured. Have your baking sheets and pans foiled and sprayed. Have your spatula right in place so you can go go go.
We’re going to start by browning some butter. Brown butter is basically butter version 2.0. We’ll cook plain ol’ unsalted butter over medium heat until it starts to become deep golden in color and develop a fragrant, nutty smell. This takes anywhere from 5-10 mins, but you want to make sure you’re stirring the butter pretty frequently so that it doesn’t burn. I also recommend using a light interior colored pot if you have one. I think it’s a little easier to see the color of the butter changing. I use my enamel coated dutch oven, and it works perfectly. But either way, even if you couldn’t see the butter browning, you’d definitely smell it. As soon as it’s golden, we’re going to pull the pot off the heat, mix in a little vanilla and sea salt, and immediately activate step two.
The next trick to these rice krispie treats is toasted marshmallows. While our butter is browning, we’ll have our broiler preheating. We’re also going to line a baking sheet with foil and spray it completely with cooking spray. Then, we’ll arrange mini marshmallows in a single layer. And the second that butter comes off the heat, the marshmallows go under the broiler. They only need about a minute. Depending on the strength of your oven’s heating element, it could go even faster. But either way, watch these closely so they don’t burn. Right when they finish toasting, we’ll pull the pan out of the broiler, and dump those toasty marshmallows right into the brown butter. Now since we sprayed that foil with cooking spray, they marshmallows will slide right off…almost in one big marshmallowy pillow. Then, we’ll stir, stir, stir until the butter and marshmallows become one.
From there, we’ll mix in our cereal, gently press the mix into a 9x9 square foil lined and sprayed pan to cool, and wait about an hour before we dig in. And hot tip…it can be tricky to press the rice krispie treat mix into the pan, because you have gooey marshmallow cereal everywhere. So, give your spatula a little spritz of cooking spray, and you can press everything right down with no sticking.
When it’s time to enjoy, your tastebuds are going to dance. You can taste all of the special nuances that we added to these treats. You can taste the caramelized sweetness from the marshmallows. You can taste the nutty undertones from the butter. You can taste the rich kiss of the vanilla. And, you can taste that little hint of sea salt that does double duty of both balancing out and accentuating all the sweet flavors of the treat.
There’s only one thing to say about these bars…they are DANGEROUS.
Ok, everyone! These may not be your mama’s rice krispie treats, but make sure you make a big ol’ batch for your mamas anyway. Or don’t. Keep them all for yourself. You’ll be tempted to do that anyway.
I hope you guys love this one as much as I do. So, let’s eat!
The ULTIMATE Rice Krispie Treats
Serves: 16 Print
1 bag (10 oz) mini marshmallows
5 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp fine sea salt
5 cups Rice Krispie cereal
Line an 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray it with cooking spray. Set aside.
Preheat oven to broil, and position top rack to 6 inches from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray it with cooking spray. Arrange marshmallows in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Set aside.
Brown the butter: Melt butter in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Cook the butter until it's golden and smells nutty, stirring frequently to prevent the butter from burning, about 5-10 mins. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and sea salt.
Immediately after pulling butter off the heat, place marshmallows under the broiler. Broil for 1 to 1 ½ mins until the marshmallows are golden and toasted. Add toasted marshmallows to the pot with the butter, and stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and incorporated with the butter.
Stir the cereal into the marshmallow mix until completely coated. Spritz the back of your spatula with cooking spray, and gently press the cereal mix evenly into the prepared pan. Allow the rice krispie treats to sit for at least 1 hour to cool and set.
Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil out of the dish. Cut into 16 squares. Serve!
*Mise en place, or gathering/prepping your ingredients, is important to the success of this recipe. After that butter is browned, we have to move fast to toast the marshmallows before the butter cools off too much. We also want to mix in the cereal as soon as those marshmallows are totally melted. Get all of your ingredients measured and ready so you can act fast while assembling.
*I recommend using a lighter colored pot, like an enamel coated dutch oven, to help you see the color of the butter change as it toasts. If that's not an option, that's totally ok. You'll certainly smell the nutty fragrance of the butter when it's ready.
*We want to use mini marshmallows for this recipe so that we can maximize the surface area of toastiness on the marshmallows. You'll get more toasty edges with minis, so don't swap out for full sized marshmallows.
*Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.