Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cookie Mania, and Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treats!

Holiday Cookie Basket

Nothing spells holiday love like these wrapped baskets of cookies.  This year Plum Cherry Crumb Bars, Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treats, and Stained Glass Cookies and Sugared Cookies were added to the Linzer Cookies my sister demands I make every year.  Unlike past years when I stressed and swore over torn and cracked dough or runny royal icing, these were fairly easy-going and fun.  And luckily I finished them and shipped them off before I got hit with this nasty cold.

Holiday Cookie Baskets

To make the Plum Cherry Crumb Bars, follow the Raspberry Crumb Bar recipe I made in October and substitute with Sarabeth's Plum Cherry Jam.  Yes, it's pricey, but like we said, "Mmm... No time like the holidays to splurge on $10 jam."  To make the Linzers, follow the Linzer recipe I used last year.  I'll share the recipe and technique next time for the Stained Glass Cookies.  For now, let's talk about Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treats.

Browned Butter Crispy Rice Treats

These are like your childhood favorites, but browned butter, real vanilla bean, and salt give them subtle grown-up touches.  I thought this was a gluten-free treat, but discovered that Rice Krispies have malt in them!  And a wheat-free cereal I found also had malt, so that means it's wheat-free but not gluten-free.  I intended them as a treat for Joe's sis, but I'll have to continue my hunt for gluten-free cereal.  Also, although I'm a chocolate lover, I don't advocate for the use of chocolate here because it overwhelmed the other flavors.

Rice Krispy Treats

These are made much like the way you made them as a kid with mom.  The butter is just cooked on low heat a little longer to brown it, and a scraped vanilla bean is added.  Can you see the vanilla specks in the melted marshmallow?  The cereal is added, then the mixture is poured into a pan and smoothed out.  They're more moist than the back-of-the-cereal-box recipe, so I let them sit out overnight.

Chocolate-Covered Browned Butter Crispy Rice Treats

Brown Butter-Crispy Rice Treats
From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Two 10-ounce (280-gram) bags marshmallows
½ tsp kosher salt
9 cups (240 grams) crispy rice cereal

Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, coat it with nonstick cooking spray, or line it with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  As the butter melts, use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean directly into the butter.

Once the butter has melted, it will start to bubble and crackle.  If you lean in and listen, it will sound like an audience of people politely clapping their hands (in anticipation of these treats!).  Watch the butter carefully and you will see it slowly browning.  As soon as the bubbling subsides, after about 5 minutes, the butter will be fully browned and you will need to add the marshmallows.  (Be attentive, because if you don't add the marshmallows right away, the butter may burn.)  Add the marshmallows and salt and stir constantly over low heat until the marshmallows are completely melted and the vanilla seeds are evenly distributed.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the cereal, and mix well with a wooden spoon to coat evenly.  Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and pat into an even layer.  Let cool for about 1 hour, or to room temperature, then cut into 12 pieces.

These treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


  1. Beautiful cookies baskets! And the rice squares with brown butter look awesome.

  2. What a great collection of cookies! I would love to be on the receiving end :-) I have made these brown butter krispies before, and I can attest to how delicious they taste! Thank you for sharing with me. I hope you have a Wednesday full of wonder and joy!


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