Brown Butter Rice Krispie Bars


Today I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Creamy peanut butter, grape jelly, and white bread—transcendence. I haven't had a PB&J for years and oh it was good. Sometimes I feel like I've outgrown certain foods, like boxed macaroni and cheese, hotdogs, or PB&J. It's not that I've ever stopped enjoying them, but they just got lost somewhere along the way and I'm just not sure why.

Do you ever feel like you've outgrown particular foods?

Occasionally, I throw around words like "palate" and "sophisticated." When I'm trying to be a bit of a show-off, I sometimes relate these words to myself. I'll be the first to admit I don't have any idea what I'm talking about. Having a "sophisticated palate" is probably much more than eating brussel sprouts without cringing or enjoying foie gras with fancy cheeses.

Lately, though, I've noticed that chefs are going back to our roots. The foods we loved as children are now being dressed up in new clothes. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Macaroni and cheese. The hamburger and fries. As an adult with a "sophisticated palate," I can't complain. I love the nostalgia of my childhood favorites done up from scratch with more vegetables to satisfy my health tooth (I may have a health tooth, but the rest of my mouth is filled with sweet teeth).

These are the traditional Rice Krispie Bars elevated to a whole new level. Browning the butter before mixing everything together results in a bar with deep nutty undertones. By using salted butter, you can cut down on the sweetness of the marshmallow and really allow the browned butter flavors to shine. This isn't the Rice Krispie Bar from your childhood—this is the Rice Krispie Bar you wish you'd grown up eating.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yields 16 2-inch squares

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
1 10.5-ounce bag marshmallows (mini marshmallows melt the best)
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)

Grease an 8-inch square pan, loaf pan, or bar pan.

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. To brown it, keep the butter on the heat until it turns brown and smells nutty. The butter will foam and turn golden before beginning to brown. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom. Watch the butter closely, it will go from brown to burned in less than a minute.

Once the butter is browned, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. Add the cereal once the marshmallows are smooth and stir until evenly coated.

Spread the cereal into the prepared pan. Press the cereal down with a silicone spatula. Let cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.