I spent this past week on the road with Skratch Labs, (if you follow me on Instagram, you know that already!) cooking up a storm at the Red Rock Rendezvous – the climbing festival that kicks off spring + summer in earnest, in the beautiful canyons just a few miles off the Las Vegas strip. Breakfast and lunch for the athletes and attendees, packable breakfast + lunch for the climbing guides, dinner for the entire crew of 1000 hungry new friends, and all the snacks, desserts in between? Yeah, that was us. We were up at 4am each morning, and sometimes didn’t finish cooking or preparing until 11pm at night; it was a tremendous amount of work, but worth each second when we saw the smiles on the faces of everyone that enjoyed the food we were pumping out of our little food truck. It goes without saying that this experience has been amazing, what with such a strong, capable, and fun team (led by this guy!) But it also felt amazing to be in the kitchen again, to be creative, and cooking + rolling with the punches after so many years away from work like this.
The food that we kick out of the trailer is simple, straightforward, flavorful, and satisfying – delicious burritos, homemade curries, homey bowls of oats, rice and eggs and all the things your body is craving when you’ve had a hard day on the bike, climbing, running or adventuring. Or, just being you. But as the new baker on the team I keep thinking that I see a few little holes in our production schedule where we could throw in a batch of morning buns, churn out some cookies, or whip up something sweet as well. So this week, that’s exactly what I did.
Not just anything will fit in these spaces. The thing is that these holes are small, as are the kitchens we’re cooking from. When we roll to Sea Otter in Monterey in a couple weeks, we won’t have the prep kitchen or tremendous cooking tent we had here in Las Vegas. When we support the Tour of California in May, our kitchens will be our hotel rooms. Plus, we don’t typically carry the ingredients, equipment or tools necessary to really work pastry the right way so on this trip, and those to come, I had to be creative with the recipes we chose; its true that there’s something about a little something sweet that satisfies your soul and I want whatever we bake up this summer to do just that….but without a lot of fuss, mess, or time spent.
So, I brainstormed for a bit, and threw some ideas out to my teammates. This brown butter rice crispy treat was the product of those brainstorms, when we were awake before the rest of the world, thinking about what they would be eating that day.
So – this recipe. You’re gonna wanna keep it. I know I am, because this is not your ordinary rice crispy treat and the butter is all the difference. (And, because the 150 climbers that enjoyed them told me not to lose it!) Instead of merely melting the butter, you’re going to brown it before melting it with the marshmallows. Its an extra step that might take you 5-10 minutes, but its completely worth it. To brown the butter, I can’t emphasize enough that working with heat low and slow here is crucial. If you bring the butter up to boil or try to brown it too quickly, you’re likely to burn it which would probably still be good, but not as epically good as not burning it. One other quick suggestions: maldon sea salt flakes. Sprinkle them lightly over the top of the treats as they’re setting. You won’t be sorry!
Now, since I just made these for a huge crowd (read: EPIC amounts of mallow cream!) I can safely say that the technique you’d use for making the mallow cream is a little bit different if you’re planning on doubling, tripling, or increasing the batch size. Instead of pulling the butter from the heat when you add the marshmallows, I suggest leaving the butter on the stove and adding the marshmallows, stirring until you have a smooth, loose mixture with little speckles of brown butter in it. Yum!
xo – L
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted plus more for pan
- 1 - 10oz bag of mini marshmallows
- heaping 1/4 tsp coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling (see note)*
- 6 cups of crisp rice cereal
- maldon sea salt flakes for sprinkling (completely optional)
- Find yourself an 8x8 pan with 2'-inch sides and coat it lightly with butter. Set aside. I also like to lightly butter a spatula for pressing the treats into the pan. Set this aside too.
- Measure out the rice cereal into a big, broad bowl, add the salt and mix well.
- Put a large pot on the stove over low-medium heat and melt the butter, then bring it to brown. The timing to do this will depend on your stove, and your heat. I suggest bringing the butter to brown over low heat, and quite slowly because this best develops the nutty, rich flavor of the butter. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell deliciously nutty. Stir the butter frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do and don’t take your eyes off the pot because the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a minute!