Ok, people, STAND BACK, perhaps even avert your eyes. If you have a weakness for any kind of sweets, then actually, you had just better STAY AWAY: click that mouse and go somewhere else. But, whatever you do, DON’T read this little post.
I read a tremendous number of blogs. I read perhaps a hundred or more posts each week. It is my hobby. Oh yes, I am also somewhat food obsessed and I love to read anything about food. Most of all, I learn tons as I read these articles (although I remember only a fraction of it). When you are my age, keeping the brain set to “on” is very important.
Among the blogs I read, like so many other foodie folks, Smitten Kitchen keeps me coming back, again and again. I feel like I know Deb Perelman: we have much in common though she is half my age (I’m sure of it) has a small child (mine – step children, at that, are late and mid-teen) and she lives in New York (I am just a wannabe New Yorker – 261 days and counting). Deb knows desserts and every time I follow her lead, I am lavishly rewarded.
I don’t make too many desserts because I have an obese person inside of me who is always fighting to get out. Skipping dessert is one way I have of not letting her win the battle. Also, neither my wonderful, loving, adorable, angelic and doting step-daughter nor Bob are much into sweets. One exception comes in the form of Rice Krispy treats. Anyone can make these, right? Wrong.
The first time I made these (what I believe are cloyingly sweet) goodies for them I was completely humiliated. I made the most grievous error a cook can make, or so I was told. I USED MARSHMALLOW CREME instead of actual marshmallows. I confess, I don’t really love this confection so I really didn’t think the back-of-the-box recipe was sacrosanct. I spied the creme on the shelf and I thought it would distribute through the cereal more readily. I matched the quantity called for in the recipe by weight and bought the stuff. Bad, bad step-mother!!! I was shamed by my traditionalist family and I vowed never to make these things again.
But then a couple of weeks ago I found a post that Deb had written about a new twist on the old RC Treats. She convinced me that I should try again. Double the butter Deb advised, and instead of just melting it and mixing in the marshmallows, brown the butter first! The brown butter, as we know, gets a really special nutty flavor. You have to take care to get the milk solids to just the right doneness, as indicated by color. Stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan as the butter cooks will do the trick and will help keep the particles from sticking to your pan. Go for a good pecan shade of brown. You must be very careful because brown butter can turn to burnt butter very quickly. But, if you continually stir and resist the temptation to speed the process by turning up the heat too high, you will get it right.
But wait, there is one more twist on the B-O-B recipe. At the very end, add sea salt (or kosher salt) as you stir the sticky liquid in with the cereal. Brilliant! Deb says to use a 1/4 tsp of salt but, being a renegade, I used my salt grinder and did not actually measure. I like the combination of salt and sweet though I was careful to use a very light hand. Measure if you must, but I really think that Deb’s quarter teaspoon is not enough – you decide and, please, let me know what you think. Do your best to distribute the salt well throughout the mixture as you are combining the ingredients. A second person to help at this juncture will make the difference.
These things are totally seductive and truly wicked. The brown butter flavor comes right through and the lovely pecan colored particles give these otherwise generic appearing treats a nice touch of color. It is, however, the classic combination of sweet and salt added to that buttery nuttiness which makes them absolutely superlative. Best of all, this recipe conquers the cloying sweetness of the unaltered back-of-the-box dessert and elevates them to a much higher plane. I have visions of these new RCT’s appearing on the petit fours plates of fine restaurants everywhere. Well, maybe that is too much to imagine but I certainly will serve them to company.
Deb’s original post can be found here.