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Classic, colorful treats

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These classic treats are salty-sweet and the perfect balance of crispy, gooey, soft and chewy. This version, inspired by the one Julia Moskin adapted from chef Colin Alevras for The Times in 2007, is also enhanced by deeply browned butter. But here, a good amount of salt balances out the sweetness and includes a secret to achieving the perfect texture: the marshmallows are cooked gently to prevent the sugars from caramelizing, which can turn your treats hard and dry. You can easily double this recipe, and use a 9-by-13 pan, but you’ll end up with slightly taller treats (which is not a bad thing). The rainbow sprinkles are optional, but highly recommended.

Rice Krispie Treats
• 1/2 cup/113 grams unsalted butter, preferably European-style, plus extra for greasing
• 1 (12-ounce/340-gram) bag marshmallows (preferably standard size)
• 1 1/4 teaspoons/5 grams kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 6 cups/180 grams Rice Krispies cereal
• Rainbow sprinkles (optional, but highly recommended)
• Flaky salt (optional)

Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat until it starts to foam, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until the bubbling stops and the little specks of milk solids begin to turn golden, another 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully at this stage; you want the milk solids to go from golden to a medium-dark brown, but not black.

Immediately turn off the heat and add the marshmallows to the pot to stop the butter from cooking any further. Stir to coat all the marshmallows in the hot, browned butter until they’re well coated and begin to soften, about 1 minute.

Return heat to low, add the salt and stir until the marshmallows are almost smooth (some small lumps are OK), 1 to 2 minutes more. Be patient at this stage; you want the marshmallows to melt evenly and gently, softening all the way through without reaching a boil. (If you apply too much heat, the sugars can caramelize and you could end up with harder Rice Krispies treats.) Turn off the heat. Stir in the vanilla. Add the cereal and, using a large silicone spatula, fold the mixture until all the cereal is coated.

Pour into the prepared baking pan. Using the spatula, gently push and pull the cereal to spread out to fill the pan. (For the most delicate, fluffiest treats, avoid pressing down, as you don’t want to pack them in.)

While still warm, top the treats with rainbow sprinkles and a very light sprinkle of flaky salt, if using. Let cool for at least 30 minutes to set before cutting.

Once cool, remove from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut it into a 4-by-4 grid to get 16 squares. Treats keep best for up to 5 days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooling, serves 16.

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