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Published February 8th, 2017
Sweet treats for your Valentine's Day favorites
Photo Susie Iventosch

This is a fun variation on the usual Rice Krispies treats with a Valentine's flair and a delicious brown-butter taste. It seems that we have been on a brown-butter kick lately at our house, but it is amazing how delicious it is and how many applications it has from sweet to savory - desserts, pastas, meats and veggies.
I was searching online for anything "brown butter" and discovered a great little Bon Appetit article by Lily Freedman from February 4, 2016, (link below). She discusses the three kinds of brown butter we should know how to make, from golden-brown, to brown-brown to nearly blackened-brown and the typical uses for each. She likes the darkest butter for sweets, and the brown-brown for pastas and fish, while the golden-brown she uses with salads or vegetable dishes.
This is great information to have, because it seems that each time I brown butter, it turns out slightly different. Of course, this will also be affected by the water content of the butter and the temperature of the burner. Last fall, I made a big layered wedding cake for a friend, using brown butter in place of regular butter. After browning the butter, I simply chilled the butter back to solid form, and then once it was solid and cold, I followed the normal process of bringing the butter to room temperature before creaming it with the sugar to make the batter. The flavor was delightful and the texture was as perfectly normal as any yellow cake I've made with regular butter.
Remember to use a pan with a light colored bottom, so that you are clearly able to see just how brown your butter is getting, and don't venture far from the stove while you're browning it, or very quickly you'll have the fourth kind ... burned butter!
3 Kinds of Brown Butter You Should Know How to Make
by Lily Freedman for Bon Appetit

Brown-butter, Chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies Hearts

(Makes 14-16 three-inch hearts)
1/2 stick of butter (4 Tbsp.)
5 cups Rice Krispies, or other crispy rice cereal
1 bag of mini marshmallows (10.5 oz.)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (I used Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate)
Valentine's decorations (I used icing decorations by Wilton)

Spray or butter a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Place Rice Krispies in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat, and once melted, continue to cook for about 5 minutes or so, until butter is browned. There will be brown milk solids forming at the bottom of the pan as the water evaporates from the butter. Some people like to strain these out, but I love the taste, and use them in my dishes.
Add marshmallows and continue to cook, stirring often, until the marshmallows are completely melted. Pour mixture over Rice Krispies in bowl and stir until completely integrated.
Turn mixture out into the prepared pan and smooth out with a spatula. Allow to set up for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, 3 inches across and about 1-inch deep, cut as many hearts as possible from the pan. When you are out of room, gather the remaining Rice Krispies treats together and form into one large shape. Continue to cut as many more hearts as possible.
Melt chocolate in a small saucepan and dip tops of Rice Krispies treats into the chocolate, covering the entire top. It's okay if some drips down the sides! Immediately place heart decorations on top of chocolate and allow to cool completely, until chocolate is hardened.
Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

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