Having eaten half our body weight in pancakes, we made a family pact to give up chocolate for Lent. Not for religious reasons (we are not believers) but just for the challenge.
My six year old daughter Elizabeth still feels guilty about her failed attempt last year when she gave in just two days before Easter for a Mister Donut Chocolate French Cruller. I think she’ll stay strong this time. I’m not so sure about Eddie – he’s only four and I don’t think he’s mastered the art of will power yet.
The children’s school has just finished ‘Healthy Eating Week’ and giving up chocolate ought to fit smugly alongside this. The thing is I’ve been so bombarded with patronising Change4Life propaganda that it’s made me want to rebel and feed my kids sugar.
So I was looking through my ‘recipes to try’ bookmarks for chocolate-free, sugary snacks and these blonde rice krispie treats seemed perfect. They are super trashy with just three ingredients (two highly processed and sugary, one ultra fattening) but you do have to brown some butter which may elevate them into the realms of culinary sophistication.
Don’t expect the soft, gooey texture of the chocolate version here, these have a dry and chewy texture which I was a bit unsure about at first. So I just had to have another one to check. By the fifth I’d decided they were absolutely delicious (but I also felt a bit sick and had to skip lunch).
My children, as you can imagine, went mad for them.
Caramelised brown butter rice krispie treats
(by Julia Moskin for NYT Cooking, written in my own words and converted into grams)
Makes 30 – 50
- 230g of salted butter, or unsalted butter plus 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 300g of marshmallows
- 240g of Rice Krispies
Line a 24cm by 34cm baking tray (or one with a similar area) with baking parchment and grease with butter.
In a very large pan melt the butter over a medium heat. Then stir the butter and cook until it foams, goes clear and then turns light brown. This takes about 3 minutes and you know it’s done when it starts to smell lovely and nutty (“melting butter is the nicest smell in the whole world” declares my daughter Elizabeth, and I agree).
Now stir in the marshmallows. At first they will look like chewing gum swimming in a pool of grease (not very appetising) but keep stirring and they will eventually amalgamate. You need to cook the mixture for about 3 – 5 minutes, stirring all the time, until it turns a fudgy pale brown colour.
Remove the pan from the heat and empty in the Rice Krispies. Stir well with a silicone spatula. Scrape everything into the baking tray and use your hands to press it all down as evenly as possible.
Leave to cool (there is no need to refrigerate) and then, with a sharp knife, cut into squares or bars as neatly as you can.