Last week I ran across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and I was suddenly and overwhelmingly inspired. Usually, I make sure to always follow the given directions the first time - before running off on my own. This time, however, I didn't, and boy am I glad. Stop whatever you are doing and GO MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW.
The most important aspect of these beauties is that they taste AMAZING. Literally, they are the best dessert I have ever eaten - EVER. Maybe not, but they are so good I can't even remember many other desserts I've had, so that at the very least speaks to how overwhelmingly good they are. Why am I trying to convince you of this? My NAME is The Fat Girl, you KNOW I don't lie about when I make and/or find stuff that's less than great.
Close runner-up things about this recipe that I love is that (1) it's fast, (2) it's easy, (3) it's got a low dirty-dish count, and (4) it's really quite flexible. So let's dive in!
Browned Butter Flakey Krispie Treats
1 stick of regular ol' salted butter (because unsalted butter is the Devil's Spread)
2 tbsp of butter (yes, more butter) softened, for greasing the pan
10oz mini marshmallows (fresher is better, and mini is best because they melt faster and more evenly)
BIG pinch of kosher salt (I'm talking a good 4-finger pinch, here, about 3/4 tsp)
7oz frosted cornflake breakfast cereal (I used the cheap-o kind that comes in that giant bag)
Parchment paper (a 5-6" x 12-16" strip to act as a sling, plus more to protect your hand)
Before we get started, do yourself a favor and grab some bowls and weigh the marshmallows and cereal out. Really. The bowls won't get dirty (you might hafta gently blow a couple cereal dust crumbs out) and it makes everything SO much easier. And fast. If you've got kids (mine's almost 3), they can help with this part, feel great about themselves, and then be safely entrenched in some other activity before you start wrangling sweet, sticky napalm.
1. In a large non-stick everyday pan over medium-low heat, melt the stick of butter. While it is first melting, thoroughly butter an 8x8" pan (I used a Pyrex casserole, but really, as long as it's square and relatively heat resistant, use whatever tickles you). Don't be squeamish - get in there with your fingers and rub that butter everywhere. You washed your hands before you started cooking, right? So relax. Once it's all buttered, press the parchment sling into the bottom and sides of the pan, leaving the excess to hang over the edges - so you can get The Goods out more easily after they cool.
2. As the butter begins to be completely melted, grab a heatproof spatula or spoon and start gently scraping the bottom of the pan. Don't rush, don't stop, and don't walk away. After it finishes melting, it will rapidly foam up (this is the water in the butter boiling off), and then as the foam dies down the milk sugars will start to caramelize. Yes, caramelize, as in CARAMEL. When you first begin to smell nuttiness, and the butter has taken on a light brownish color, turn of the heat immediately.
3. Leaving the pan where it is, dump in the marshmallows and stir continuously. There's plenty of heat left to melt them, and what's more, not having the heat on means you won't accidentally scorch the marshmallows (this is one of the culprits of hard, crunchy, AWFUL cereal treats).
4. When the marshmallows are about halfway melted, add that big pinch of salt. Stir stir stir.
5. When the marshmallows are completely melted, the butter is fully integrated, and you can no longer see any salt granules, dump in the cereal and fold gently to get everything combined evenly. Yep, right in the pan - why dirty another bowl? Conversely, don't try to mix it in the buttered cooling pan, or you'll scrap off sections of butter and The Goods will stick more fiercely.
6. Once everything is nice and evenly coated in marshmallow goo, dump it all into the cooling pan (yes, on TOP of the sling, please) and then use your parchment-wrapped hand to squish it into the corners and to an even depth all across the pan. PROTIP - I wasn't kidding when I called it sticky napalm. It's really hot, and it has to be so you can manipulate it. Work quickly, using your driving-in-the-middle-of-summer-without-really-touching-the-steering-wheel skills.
7. Let it cool for 3-5 hours on the counter, or until everything is room temp to the touch. To depan, run a butter knife around the edge, then alternate pulling up gently on both sides of the sling and turning the pan over and gently dropping it onto the counter. This is why I like using glass - I can see where it's sticking and plan my attack accordingly.
8. Once it's out of the pan and on the cutting board, slice it into 9 equal pieces. I like using my board scraper to do this, by just pressing straight down. I haven't noticed a sharp knife being any help at all, but whatever you use, a smear of (yes, more) butter will go a long way towards preventing stickage.
NUTRITION: via calculation, not lab testing - I did my best, so don't yell at me if you gain weight or something.