When time permits, I love spending time in the kitchen preparing complex meals and desserts, but let’s be honest–some days that is just not in the cards. This week has been full of those days, with seemingly barely enough time to get dinner on the table, let alone fancy extras. So when we remembered on short notice that my step-daughter needed a contribution for the end-of-soccer-season potluck, it was time for something quick, simple, but definitely still fabulous.

Enter these fancy treats courtesy of Deb at Smitten Kitchen. They come from her (obviously outstanding) cookbook, and are–in her fine words–an improvement on something that was never broken. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a chewy rice krispy treat to begin with!? Add browned butter and a pinch of sea salt, though, and they are sublime. Fortunately I had one square left over.. you know, to taste test

As an added bonus, baby Henry enjoyed watching and even mimicked me stirring with his own tiny bowl and spatula. It’s always a win when I can cook while he’s awake and feel like he’s engaged in the process. He’ll be churning out chocolate chip cookies alongside me before I know it!

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispy Treats

8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for coating the pan
heaping 1/4 tsp. flaky sea salt
10 oz. bag marshmallows (either large or miniature is fine)
6 cups puffed-rice cereal

Butter an 8-inch square cake pan, or coat well with non-stick spray.

In a large pot, melt the 8 tbsp. butter over medium-low heat. Watching the butter carefully and stirring frequently, allow it to melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, then finally begin to turn brown and smell nutty.

As soon as the butter is browned and has a nutty aroma, remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle in the salt, and stir in the marshmallows. Mix gently just until the marshmallows melt and the mixture takes on a smooth consistency. (A silicone spatula works very well for this.)

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cereal, folding gently until it is evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture. Quickly spread into the prepared cake pan, and use your silicone spatula (or a greased piece of parchment paper) to press the mixture firmly into the edges and corners and smooth out the top. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Source: Smitten Kitchen (the cookbook)