Rice krispies treats used to be my nemesis. I could never get them right, even when following the recipe on the side of the box that millions of others can master with one hand tied behind their backs. Mine were invariably hard and dense as hockey pucks, certainly not something you'd take to a bake sale let alone eat yourself. But one recipe came to my rescue -- the salted browned butter rice crispy treats from Smitten Kitchen. The extra butter keeps them soft and easy to press into the pan, and did I mention that the butter is browned? They're crazy good. Even people who say they don't like rice krispies treats like these. I've made them countless times but it was only recently that I had that aha moment to add toffee bits (and a bit more sea salt to keep the salty-sweet in balance). The result is way too good not to share. —EmilyC
16 2-inch treats
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
1/2 tsp sea salt (level, not heaping)
6 cups puffed rice cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
2/3 cup English toffee bits (can substitute very finely chopped English toffee bars)
Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square pan.
In a large bowl, combine the cereal, sea salt and toffee bits. Toss to mix well.
In a large pot over medium heat (one big enough to hold six cups of cereal), cook the butter until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom.
When the butter is browned, turn the heat as low as it will go and stir in the marshmallows. Stir until they’ve thoroughly melted and are smooth; you shouldn’t see any marshmallow shapes at this point.
Remove the pot from the stove. Add the cereal-salt-toffee to the marshmallows, mixing quickly until evenly incorporated. (A strong, silicon spatula works well.) Spread into prepared pan, pressing firmly and evenly. A piece of waxed paper sprayed with oil works well for pressing and spreading the cereal into the corners and edges.
Let cool and cut into squares. Share them right away, lest risk eating the whole pan by yourself.