mike kostyo

I know food.

Brown Butter Vanilla Rice Crispy Treats

I'm just going to act like it's been one week since I updated this blog and not over six months.

A lot has happened in that week. I moved back home to Chicago! There just weren't enough shootings in Boston, you know. I already miss the oysters. And the people. Hi Danielle! Hi Daphnie! Especially the ones with "D" names. And the witches in Salem. Hi witches. I'm sad I'm going to miss the blizzard this weekend, to be honest.

But it's great to be back near family again. I spent a weekend cooking with my Aunt where we made two racks of lamb, shrimp, scallops, tuna, two types of aioli, pita salads, roast chicken, and alligator. I had alligator on a stick at a fair years ago and would you believe it was not so delicious? This time it was amazing, like a cross between chicken and catfish and very juicy and tender. Eat it. We made all of that for the two of us. For one dinner. Like I said, it's good to be back.

How were your holidays? The ones that were last week? What were you for Halloween? A slutty Pez dispenser? Man Ray? I spent the entire autumn trying to find the best apple cider donuts in Michigan. The best were at a roadside stand called Jenny's in Dexter. The guy running the place was cranky, but the donuts were not. So fluffy. I miss autumn already. Let's hibernate until October.

Have you been watching Top Glad Sandwich Bags Chef? Pretty good this season, no? Except for the guy with the silly villain mustache who is always talking about bacon out loud and through his t-shirts. Alright already. Bring back Kristen! And Kuniko! She was so quiet. Sometimes on these shows it's just talking and talking and talking. Maybe just a fifteen minute shot of someone making some english muffins and not talking would be nice for once. I would be a great producer.

Do you need one? I'm currently searching for a job. If you have an opening in Chicago, you should hire me. I'm a quick learner but, more importantly, I bring in lot of treats. I actually brought these browned butter rice crispy treats to my previous job. So email me.

So let's get to the treats. You barely need a recipe for these. The name is basically the recipe. So just make them and I'll see you in another six months.

These were actually a last-minute invention after some s'more rice crispy treats didn't turn out so well (bruleeing the treats is very delicious -- soggy graham crackers not so much). The main thing is that you need lots of butter because so much of the liquid evaporates when you brown it. The level of browning is totally up to you, but I suggest at least taking it to medium-brown if you want to taste the nuttiness. You can use two tablespoons of vanilla extract if you don't have a bean, but don't omit it; vanilla rounds out the sweetness of the factory marshmallows and almost makes them taste like homemade.

I actually found out after I made these (I swear!) that the insanely talented Joanne Chang sells her own brown butter vanilla rice crispy treats at her amazing bakery. Great minds.

Enjoy! It's good to be back.

Brown Butter Vanilla Rice Crispy Treats


In a large pot, add the stick of butter and both the seeds and pod of the vanilla bean. Over medium heat, begin to melt the butter, swirling often. When the butter is nicely browned and has a nutty smell (be careful not to burn), remove the vanilla bean and discard. Immediately add the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted and remove from heat.

Add the crisped rice cereal and stir until completely coated with the marshmallow mixture. 

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray. Pour the coated cereal mixture into the pan and press it to the edges, flattening the top. Let the treats cool to room temperature and cut into squares.


+ 1 stick (113.5 grams) unsalted butter

+ 1 vanilla bean, scraped

+ 1 bag (approximately 300 grams) mini marshmallows

+ 6 cups (150 grams) crisped rice cereal