Sometimes, the best recipes are some of the simplest. All you need is a few quality ingredients. And with a little manipulation, you can create magic. This is the way I chose to go with this month's Secret Recipe Club assignment from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy. She's the hostess of our group so I was honored to get a chance to dig deep into her blog.
I ended up choosing salted browned butter rice crispy treats. The key to the flavor wow in what looks like a regular old rice crispy treat is the butter. Yes, you need to start with real butter. If you've ever tried to make rice crispies with margarine I bet you ended up with something that was soft if not even a bit stale tasting. It's because the margarine is made as a blend that includes water. And water is not friends with the snap, crackle, and pop. So don't use margarine in your rice crispy treats...for this recipe or otherwise!
When you take butter and then gently heat it, it eventually becomes this beautiful brown color with a subtle nutty smell. As you can guess, this is browned butter. And it's a way to make any buttery dish instantly delicious. Make sure you're using the unsalted kind because it allows you to control the amount of salt in your finished product (different manufacturers have more or less salt in their salted butter). Unsalted butter is also fresher than its salted counterparts. Because salt is a natural preservative, it can sit on the shelf longer and still be stable.
The verdict? Everyone raved about the unique flavor of these rice crispy treats. They were buttery and slightly nutty while staying true to their roots. It was a winner!
Other recipes I considered from Debbi's site:
- Sweet and Tangy Chili (Crockpot) - The use of balsamic vinegar in this chili was intriguing to me and as you know from the recently shared Balsamic-Honey Glazed Roast Beef Sandwiches with French Dip, I'm a real fan of that flavor. Plus, who can't use another crockpot recipe in their repitoire?
- Cincinnati Sloppy Joes - As a Cincinnati girl, this screamed for me to make them...and I will, soon!
- Debbi has an assortment of recipes based on Amish Friendship Bread starter mix. I was into doing that for awhile and then took a break by throwing my starter into the freezer so I wouldn't have to keep feeding it. Not to mention I was getting pretty sick of cinnamon bread after awhile. These two recipes were my top picks originally but since I had to go on vacation, I wasn't able to get my starter up and running in time to post this recipe. So, maybe later I'll try Amish Friendship Honey Biscuits and Amish Cinnamon Rolls!
- 4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
- Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used Kosher salt as I didn't have any sea salt)
- 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half a 12-ounce box)
- Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) an 8-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off the pot as while you may be impatient for it to start browning, the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute.
- As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, turn the heat off and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if it is not, turn it back on low until the marshmallows are smooth.
- Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together.
- Quickly spread sand gently press into prepared pan.