A black and white film unfolded before my eyes. The music soundtrack played throughout – dramatic, sweeping string tremolos that would soar high in the stratosphere, followed by loud and low answers from the brass. A full orchestra. At times the music would catch my attention and then suddenly slip away and subtlety accompany the unfolding plot.
Film noir, old Hollywood crime dramas, were made after the World War and before the Cold War began. Watching “In a Lonely Place” on a snowed in Saturday night hooked me into this genre of film. Or is Humphrey Bogart merely easy on the eyes? Please do not get me started on that silky, smooth voice of his. These browned butter crispy treats were supposed to accompany the movie. Confession: I was too caught up watching Mr. Bogart. This crime need not be reported to the authorities.
The latest project for the Sundays with Joy baking group was “Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Treats.” I am sucker for anything with brown butter – it is just so rich and nutty. I grabbed my Joy the Baker cookbook and set out to create a slightly different version of this classic treat.
I started gathering up the usual suspects. Butter, marshmallows and rice crispy cereal. (Note: I have never purchased Rice Crispy cereal as an adult….which means at least 18 years. It was a cereal that I begrudgingly ate as a child. My Mom tried to trick me into thinking that it was a ‘fun’ cereal with all of that snap, crackle and popping. I did not agree. I really just wanted Golden Grahams.) Instead of creamy peanut butter I used crunchy almond butter.
Butter is browned. The marshmallows and almond butter were stirred until smooth. The mixture is combined with the rice crispy cereal and pressed into a pan. I pressed it into the pan, listened to the snap, crackle and popping and waited a half hour.
I added a little drizzle of melted dark chocolate, with a hint of espresso powder and almond extract, to the top. I was attempting to make this treat more grown up. I wanted it to be a little deep, a little dark, a little mysterious and less predictable.
The almond and browned butter taste, for me, was lost to the crispy cereal and marshmallows. But the consistency? Spot on. A chewy, crispy and sticky treat. It seems as though my personal issue with rice crispy cereal from my childhood grudge has carried well into adulthood. Sigh. What will I do with these treats? Bring them into my students for their first day back from winter break, of course. I am certain that this is a well played move on my part.
Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to spend the remaining hours of vacation reading a book. I will be reading my own book, thank you…lest I end up like Mildred Atkinson. Thanks for reading!