brown butter peanut butter rice krispy treats

People often ask me what kind of a cook I am? I don't think they are asking if I'm bossy in the kitchen. They are more often asking me to define the general type of "cuisine" I conjure up and then subsequently push on guests and frequently give away. I'm rather hesitant to define myself in the kitchen - but I think I'd say that I most often like to cook meals or recipes that are approachable and yet a little different. I don't think anything I make is really complex. If it appears complex, it probably just requires a bit more patience and reading. Maybe.

So this weekend I was invited to a Halloween party in the burbs and knew I needed to whip something up for the occasion. I rarely feel comfortable showing up empty-handed... it's probably my mom's voice in the back of my head. That being said, you are welcome to come to my house that way. A Halloween party isn't a place for an apple clafoutis or merengue nest with strawberry sauce - it's the place for something sweet that feels a little bit sinful... and maybe even comfortable? Enter rice krispy treats. 

It's hard to not get excited by something that looks like this:
Then cover that sticky peanut butter tasty goodness in melted chocolate. Seriously. I'm not very good at melting chocolate - in fact I would say I'm terrible at it. I think it requires more patience than I always remember. For me the trick is that, just when you think you've burned the chocolate and it's beyond repair... add butter or shortening. That normally fixes it.

I approach melting chocolate with the same degree of anxiety that comes with whipped egg whites. I normally go for the double broiler method for chocolate melting - some people go microwave. I avoid my microwave because in order to use it I have to unplug my fridge and then I have to remember to plug the fridge back in... and this is just a hassle.

There isn't really a big story or wind-up to this recipe. I honestly don't even know that I can call it a recipe since it's just that easy. But in the interest of posterity here it is.

(Step 1) Melt the butter on medium in the bottom of your big pot until it gets the golden brown color and nutty smell of brown butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the bag of marshmellows. 
(Step 2) Turn the heat to medium/low and stir the pot until all of the marshmellows have melted. In my great experience of rice krispy treats, I feel like this time varies - sometimes super fast and I'm rushing back to the pot... and sometimes much slower. Don't try to rush it because then you'll burn the sticky goodness and that won't be great.

(Step 3) Now, add in the peanut butter. If you only have crunchy it'll be fine - but I think creamy works best for this. Stir that mixture again.

(Step 4) Once you've got your mixture all melted, add in the rice krispies... and stir until well combined. You do need to put a little bit of elbow grease into it since it feels like you are stirring glue.
(Step 5) Once you've got your ingredients well mixed, put it in a 9x13 pan. The easiest way to do this is line the bottom on the pan with wax paper (facilitates clean-up later) and just drop the sticky glob in the pan. You are potentially wasting your time if you try to use a spatula to spread the treats. My trick is to use another piece of wax paper to smoosh and spread the treats evenly and throughout the whole pan. You also want it to be compact - so press it down real good.

(Step 6) I was in a bit of a rush so I put the pan into the fridge to quickly cool. Once cool, use a sharp knife to cut the treats into the size you so desire. You are captain of your own rice krispy destiny. Place them on a sheet of wax paper while they wait for their chocolate bath.

(Step 7) Melt your chocolate via whatever method you choose. I add in a little bit of coffee (1 tbsp-ish) to the chocolate chips while melting... and then butter to smooth out the mixture. Melting chocolate is a bit of an art and it's not precise. Depending on what fat you use, you require more or less to smooth out the chocolate for dipping. I read somewhere that you need 25-30% more butter than shortening.
 (Step 8) Once your chocolate is melty and liquidy, just dip your treats to your liking and let harden. That's it.

Shopping List
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 bag of marshmellows
3 T butter (for the treats)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 T brewed coffee
3-4 T butter (for the melted chocolate)

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