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Secret Ingredient Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Secret Ingredient Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats
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Have you ever wondered why the boxed kind of Rice Krispies Treats are so good? Like, even better than the kind you make in your home kitchen? To me, the boxed kind has this underlying perfectly buttery flavor that is just... chef's kiss.

Now, you'd think the recipe shared on their official Rice Kripies box would give you that same perfect dessert. You know the recipe. It's literally called the "Original Rice Krispies Treat" recipe. It goes like this: melt butter, add marshmallows, add Rice Krispies. BOOM. Done. Easy. But not nearly as good as the packaged version.

And yessss, before you say it.... I knowwwwww. The packaged one is different than the original recipe because there are added preservatives (and other weird things) to extend shelf life. And if you take a quick look at the package you'll also see other fun things. Like corn syrup! And fructose! And vegetable oil! And something called DATEM and... a rabbit hole for a different day.

Instead, let's celebrate because I have a recipe that is BETTER than the packaged version of Rice Krispies Treats. And BONUS! It doesn't contain any of the added chemicals! Whoohoo!

In true HippoPops fashion, I have provided more than enough details to walk you through every step of this recipe. So, first up-- a table of contents!

Table of Contents

About our Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats Recipe

This recipe for the best ever Rice Krispie Treats is years in the making. I have tested so many recipes and for a while thought I found a winner. But then I realized it was 1) still missing the sweet butter flavor and 2) was missing the bigger chunks of marshmallow throughout. You know, where there is not only melted marshmallow that holds the treat together, but additional mini marshmallows that have held their shape. THE BEST. Actually, the latest boxed version of Rice Krispies Treats (the "homestyle" ones) have mini marshmallows throughout. And corn syrup solids! And DATEM!

Okay, okay. Back to my recipe! It takes a heavy nod from Smitten Kitchen's 'salted brown butter crispy treat' recipe in the form of BROWN BUTTER. Browning the butter adds such an amazing flavor note. It also makes your kitchen smell amazing. Actually, I'll stop there to answer an important question...

What is brown butter?

Simply put, brown butter is the result of slowly heating butter past its melting point, allowing the water to evaporate and the milk solids to toast. The butter takes on an entirely new flavor during this process.

When heating butter you can actually see it enter various phases. After it melts, you may notice some foam that begins to form. And then the butter will seem to get clearer. And then a lovely, nutty aroma will fill your kitchen and you'll be ready to dive in head first and live there. And then you'll start to see little brown bits forming on the bottom of your pot. Those are toasted milk solids! Your butter will take on a golden hue and life will never be the same.

I love brown butter so much that I have an entire post dedicated to it: Brown Butter 101. There you'll find tons of info on brown butter, including the science behind it, a step-by-step guide on how to make brown butter and even ideas on where to use it (cough everywhere.)

What's the secret ingredient?

Ok, back to the development of this recipe! The Smitten recipe was my go-to for a while. It doubled(!!) the 'original' recipe's butter, added a touch of salt to balance out the sweetness and had that beautiful, beautiful brown butter. However, despite how much I loved it, it was missing something.

Aha! A SECRET INGREDIENT! And to not drag it out any further-- the secret to these AMAZING Rice Krispie Treats is a combination of vanilla extract and butter extract. The two combine to make the most epic flavor combination and truly send these Rice Krispie Treats to another level.

What sets these Rice Krispie Treats apart?

Hopefully this list will make you a believer that this will be your finest batch of Rice Krispie Treats yet.

  • Extra marshmallows so that you have the bites with actual mini marshmallows.
  • Double the butter from the original recipe because we are crazy.
  • And not just regular butter... cool butter. Ok, fine. Brown butter. It adds such a complex flavor to an otherwise standard treat.
  • The secret ingredients (vanilla and butter extracts) send it over the top!!
  • And then a final touch of salt to balance out the sweetness.

Pro tips for making Rice Krispie Treats

  • Use European style unsalted butter in this recipe. It makes a world of a difference when browning it.
  • If you are adding sprinkles, do so at the very end when the mixture has cooled some. Otherwise, your sprinkles may melt!
  • Drizzle with melted white chocolate after cutting to make them stand out even more!

Secret Ingredient Rice Krispie Treat Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 stick (113g) unsalted butter + additional butter to coat pan
  • 10 or 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows (Stick with a 10oz bag if you don't want to have mini marshmallows speckled throughout the Rice Krispie Treats. But also, don't do that. Go for the big bag!)
  • ¼ t coarse sea salt + extra for sprinkling
  • 6 cups (160g) Rice Krispies cereal
  • ½ t butter extract
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (100g) sprinkles
  • Cooking spray to coat parchment paper
  • White chocolate to drizzle on after Rice Krispy Treats have cooled and been cut (optional)

Tools Needed:

Directions

  1. Grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Heat your butter in a large pot over medium heat until it begins to brown. It will foam first, then turn a bit clear and then you'll notice brown bits beginning to form. Use a spatula to continuously scrape the bottom. The brown bits are milk solids-- don't worry, it's not burning! The butter will take on a nutty aroma and turn a golden brown. Once it reaches this point, take it off the heat! Keep an eye on it the whole time, because the browning can sneak up on you and if you miss it then it will burn. For detailed directions, check our Brown Butter 101 page! 
  3. Stir in marshmallows until melted and smooth. It may take a while for the marshmallows and butter to fully combine, but they will. 
  4. Add butter and vanilla extracts.
  5. Stir in rice crispy cereal and salt.
  6. Stir in extra marshmallows! I typically add 1/2 cup extra. Adding them during this stage in the process ensures they won't totally melt when mixing.
  7. Stir in sprinkles. Don't overmix to avoid sprinkle color running into the mixture.
  8. Spread mixture into prepared pan and flatten it down: Place a piece of parchment paper coated with cooking spray on top of the mixture. Using a spatula, press down evenly to flatten. Remove the parchment paper once there is an even surface. You could also use Saran Wrap here. 
  9. Sprinkle the top with a bit more salt. We have reached perfection status.
  10. Let cool completely and cut into squares. These are somehow even better on day 2 when they have had additional time to set, though we rarely make it that far with any left.
  11. (Optional) Drizzle with white chocolate. You don't have to do this step, but it sure does add an extra layer of fun! Add sprinkles on top before the chocolate dries for a festive touch!

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