Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats
Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats are absolutely positively not something that you should make at midnight, keep within a 9-inch radius of your person at your desk then next morning, then carry on a road trip with the honorable intention of bringing them home to “share with family.” Just don’t. The situation will end in sticky, buttery, cinnamony marshmallow shame.
Consequently, the situation will also end in sticky, buttery, cinnamony marshmallow bliss, which is why I’m demanding that you risk your dignity and make these Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats immediately.
Years ago, I managed to convince myself that I don’t care for marshmallow crispy treats, a prognosis I blame on the psychological backlash of four high school years spent eating cafeteria food. My daily lunch consisted of a rotation between jumbo lemon poppy seed muffins and the biggest, softest gooiest marshmallow crispy treats you’ve ever met, always with a side of fries. Fries, bakery muffins, and marshmallow treats: my daily bread.
College followed with its thinner, drier, and decidedly less satisfying marshmallow crispy treats, along with a casual awareness of basic nutrition. My fry and rice crispy-treat diet made room for soup and salad (along with the all-you-can eat frozen yogurt bar.) Any marshmallow crispy treat I tried paled in comparison to my high school memories of what a crispy treat should be, so I stopped eating them entirely.
All this marshmallow crispy treat history is to say: I’m not precisely sure why I became completely and obsessively captivated by the idea of making marshmallow crispy treats at midnight last Monday night. All I knew is that I needed marshmallow crispy treats, I needed them rightthissecond, and nothing was standing between me and a pan of sticky, crunchy marshmallow goodness.
Cinnamon is one of my favorite flavors, and churros had been on my brain, because what else would I think about in the shower, where 98% of all my deep thinking occurs? (Reference: Mini Quiches with Caramelized Pears.) The other 2% of my inspiration strikes at midnight, so at 11:40 p.m. when I should have been sleeping, I had just enough brain-juice to connect my churro desires to my immediate need for marshmallow crispy treats.
Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats boast a walloping tablespoon of cinnamon, rich dark brown sugar, vanilla, and (just to be excessive thorough) Cinnamon Chex cereal in place of the classic crispy rice. I love the extra boost of churro-appropriate cinnamon-sugar that the Chex provide. The larger, airier cereal squares also give the bars a lighter, chewier texture than classic rice crispy treats.
Speaking of light…since it’s not every night I make an entire pan of marshmallow crispy treats for myself at an inappropriate hour, I wanted these churro crispy treats to be special and, dare I say, grown up. My crispy treat history began in high school, but I’ve grown into a mostly mature young woman, capable of handling important adult tasks—like browning butter. Browning the butter does tack a few, well-spent minutes onto the cook time, but the richness and intensity it brings to Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats is more than worth this small effort.
My final adult move: salt. I’ve long been a sucker for salty-sweet treats, and a generous pinch of kosher salt keeps the churro sweetness in balance. It also makes these salted Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats fabulously impossible to stop eating, particularly at midnight.
Salted Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats are my high school diet, turned grown-up midnight snack. I think I’ll cut myself an extra large square to enjoy with a glass of wine. I am an adult after all.
Brown Butter Churro Crispy Treats
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 10 ounces miniature marshmallows
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cups cinnamon rice squares - Cinnamon Chex
- Butter or coat with non-stick spray an 8-inch square pan.
- In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Continue to heat until butter melts, then foams, then turns clear golden, then starts to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from bottom as you do. Watch it carefully, especially in last minute, to ensure butter does not burn. As soon as butter turns brown, turn off heat, then stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
- Add marshmallows and stir to melt. The heat of melted butter should be enough to melt marshmallows, but if necessary, turn heat on low and stir until marshmallows are smooth and no white streaks remain.
- Remove pot from stove and stir in the cereal and salt. As soon as cereal is coated, spread it quickly into prepared pan. To spread cereal to corners, lightly coat a sheet of wax paper with cooking, then evenly press it into pan corners. Let cool 15 minutes, cut into bars and serve.
More midnight snack-worthy marshmallow recipes:
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