salty-sweet brown butter, brown rice, rice crispy treats {gluten-free}

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You don’t need this, but you also need this. 

You need this the same way I needed to watch a so-ridicuous-it-was-good spy movie on Sunday night instead of working or reading my business book. (Don't my weekends sound thrilling?)

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So let’s share a moment and change our lives with some subtle, yet amazing changes to that box or bag recipe you may have been using to make rice crispy treats for years.

Ditch the bag and follow me. 

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  • Subtle change number one: Instead of heavily processed, light white, paper-thin rice from a blue box, I used organic brown rice cereal. The brown puffed rice is more flavorful + earthy, crispy, less airy and makes for f-ahh-bulous treat. Also, my brown rice cereal contained 3 ingredients: organic puffed brown rice, organic sugar cane and sea salt. Boom. 

  • Subtle change number 2: Brown butter instead of regular melted butter. Browned butter creates tan specs of magic in the melted marshmallows (I love speckles) and a depth of richness to the crispy treats. It also compliments the extra salt I throw in to make them salty-sweet. Browned butter isn't a new trick; one of my dearest friends (hi James!) told me that her mom did this too while growing up. 

  • Subtle change number 3: Clean-ish marshmallows. I say clean-ish because the marshmallows I used contained carrageenan… which is usually an ingredient I avoid. Since we avoid it often, I figured it was okay for a treat, especially since they were the cleanest marshmallows available so I went for it. See resources below for my other favorite, even cleaner marshmallow. 

Also, if you’re rolling your eyes at my mallow snobbery, please read the ingredients on the package of one of those hugely popular name-brand marshmallows we usually buy at the store and tell me what TETRASODIUM PYROPHOSPHATE is (it's a whipping agent, doesn't that make you feel better?) and then tell me why Blue dye #1 needs to be in my mallow. I promise the cleaner the marshmallow, the more delicious the treat. (I know you're all with me on this so I'll get off my soapbox.) I wanted to go so far as to make my own marshmallows but that didn’t happen this time because #LIFE and who really makes their own mallows for rice crispy treats? (Me. I would totally do something that ridiculous.)

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Major tangent: Carrageenan is a thickening agent that is supposed to be derived from red seaweed (also known as Irish Moss) but there’s talk that this isn’t the case in most of the foods we buy. Because most carrageenan used in our food is not clean or derived from sea weed, it’s cause for concern. I am all about being clean and cautious, so we rarely rarely eat the stuff. I am extremely annoying and thorough when making food purchases and read labels like crazy (something I learned over 12 years ago while studying food science), but I am in no way perfect. Case in point, these marshmallows. Anyone who's perfect in their choices is lying. Lol

Anyway, if you’d like to know more about carrageenan I have two links in the resources section for you. 

Alright, that’s it. I hope this new-but-old treat changes your weekends forever in the best possible way. Also, make some time for something ridiculous if you haven't recently. It's good for you. (Me hugging you.)

Also, tell me your favorite way to make rice crispy treats. Do you add pumpkin? Peanut butter? Nut butter? Coconut? Make them with chocolate cocoa crispy rice? Spill. I'd love to hear from you.

Love you friends xo

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salty-sweet brown butter, brown rice, rice crispy treats

robyn holland | 

Basically the big secret to making perfect rice crispy treats is equal parts rice cereal to equal parts marshmallow. Also, don't be afraid of butter and a pinch of salt. Also, these can easily be made vegan (dairy free) with your choice of vegan butter or coconut oil, but I wouldn't brown it the same way you would butter... you could maybe add a couple of tablespoons of some toasted coconut to get that depth of toasty flavor that browned butter provides.  Also, a rice crispy treat needs to be thick or it is not a true rice crispy treat in my book. 

bakers notes: This recipe can easily be doubled. But you'll need a really, really big bowl, a whole box of brown crisp cereal and on average 4 bags of marshmallows. You don't HAVE to brown the butter to make these either. Just take note of the slight difference in the amount of butter used if you chose not to brown the butter below. I hold back one cup of marshmallows and mix it in at the last minute to create that "marbled" effect in my treats. Sometimes they don't melt all together either and it makes for chunks of marshmallow. Its totally 100% optional, but just wanted to give you all my secrets. ;) 

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6 cups / 190g brown rice crisp cereal 

6 cups / 275g mini "clean" marshmallows, 1 cup reserved

5 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned - if you're not browning the butter use 5 tablespoons, if you are browning the butter, use 6

½ teaspoon kosher salt, optional, if you want that salty sweet effect, if not, a pinch of salt will do. 

extra soft butter for greasing and for your hands when molding the treats


Grease a 8x8 inch pan with butter.  

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan for about 4-5 minutes until totally melted and browned. Watch your butter closely as it's easy for your butter to turn from dark brown to burned. Until I make one of my own, I have a good browning butter tutorial from a great blogger in my resources below. 

Add your marshmallows and salt to your melted browned butter (be sure to set aside 1 cup of your mallows to mix in later, this isn't a huge deal if you forget this). Stir until melted and you have this fabulous thick, brown speckled mixture of magic.

In very large bowl pour the melted marshmallow over your brown rice cereal mixing it all together with a rubber spatula. Brace yourself, it's about to get messy. 

Working quickly and with a light hand so as not to completely mush the cereal, mix the rice crispy cereal with the melted marshmallow, and the 1 reserved cup of mallows until combined. The mixture can be really really hot, so use a spatula first. Once the mixture as cooled a bit, butter your hands and continue mixing. 

Butter your hands again and press mixture into the greased 8x8 inch pan until evenly distributed. Careful not to completely mash the cereal here either, just a gentle firm press into the pan works great. 

Let them sit for about an hour before serving. While you wait, you totally have permission to eat the entire sticky mess left over in the bowl. 

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Dandy marshmallows are the mallows I used for this recipe. They're vegan, but contain carrageenan.

Two of my favorite quick-read articles on carrageenan can be found from Dr. Weil and Meghan Telpner

Elyon kosher marshmallows are probably my favorite clean marshmallow (other than homemade) because they contain no carrageenan. These are not vegan as they contain gelatin. Gelatin is actually really good for our gut health, so if you're not vegan, don't be afraid of clean + kosher gelatin.  

I used organic brown rice cereal from Whole Foods

My food-blog-friend (that I seriously want to meet in real life) has a great tutorial on browning butter on her site. Go love her.