I’ve been a huge Rice Krispie Treat fan since back in the day. I mean it was hands down my favorite sweet as a kid – I memorized the recipe from the back of the cereal box and made them on the regular. Post-college I discovered a bakery near my first NYC apartment that sold them in massive blocks, and I purchased one a day for about a year. In 2007, the New York Times published a recipe for Caramelized Brown Butter ones, perhaps the first of its kind (though now brown butter Rice Krispie Treats is basically a thing), and that has been my go-to recipe for over a decade – until now.
Last spring, at a food event at which I was working, I tasted the best Rice Krispie Treat, umh, ever. It hailed from the geniuses at Brooklyn’s Meme’s Diner and it literally blew my mind. It was the gooiest, butteriest, softest and chewiest of treats and I ate about a million (the Meme’s peeps and I shared a table, so this was easy to do, as the treats were displayed right next to me for several hours – yes, it was heavenly). Though I did not inquire at the time as to what it was that made the wildy addictive treats so spectacular (perhaps because I was focused on eating as many as I could without drawing too much attention to myself), I stumbled upon the reason here several months later: sweetened condensed milk is the magic addition to a batch of Rice Krispie Treats. Miraculously, it sends them over the top texturally, without making them too sweet, or really changing the taste of the beloved classic much at all.
My treats recipe now calls for half a cup, but I’ve made some additional tweaks, like an extra cup of whole mini marshies for folding in at the last minute (cause aren’t we all in it for the intense pockets of goo – or, is that just me? ), a generous teaspoon of fine sea salt, plus some of the flaky variety for sprinkling (because, umh, salt), and a tablespoon of vanilla (the vanilla works wonders with the melted, buttery marshmallows . . . ). In short, sweetened condensed milk, some extra marshies, salt and vanilla, is all that stands between you and the Rice Krispie Treats of your dreams.
Moreover, Rice Krispie treats aren’t just for bake sales anymore, FYI. They are great for holiday potlucking-ing and a stellar addition to your cookie box (though if you are sending them through the mail, wrap them in plastic wrap first, so they don’t dry out). Or, enjoy them the way I do: standing at my kitchen counter, uninhibitedly slicing slivers from the pan (when they are just this side of room temp) and not doing a very good job of sharing. Sorry/not sorry.
Flawless Rice Krispie Treats
- an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking pan
- cooking spray
- a large pot
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 (10-ounce) bag mini marshmallows, plus 1 cup (to keep aside for sprinkling in later)
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 6 cups Rice Krispies
- Flaky sea salt (if that’s your bag)
- 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk.
- Grease an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan with cooking spray or softened butter.
- Place the butter in a large pot on the stove and melt it over medium heat. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir with a rubber spatula for about 2 minutes, until the butter and condensed milk combine. Small bubbles should form in the center of the mixture.
- Add the marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth.
- Add the vanilla and salt and stir again.
- Off the heat, add the Rice Krispies and the remaining 1 cup of marshies and stir to combine. (The extra cup of mini marshmallows for folding in at the last minute is optional — not everyone is *as* into gloopy Rice Krispies Treats. The tablespoon of vanilla works wonders with the melted, buttery marshmallows too.)
- Transfer to the prepared pan and press down lightly with a sheet of plastic wrap (you don’t want to pack the Rice Krispies Treats down or they’ll lose their inherently soft and gooey texture). Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using.
- Let sit on the counter for at least 1 hour to set up. Cut into 16 slices and serve.
- You can store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. (But don’t worry, there won’t be any.)