Nothing spells holiday love like these wrapped baskets of cookies. This year Plum Cherry Crumb Bars, Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treats, and Stained Glass Cookies and Sugared Cookies were added to the Linzer Cookies my sister demands I make every year. Unlike past years when I stressed and swore over torn and cracked dough or runny royal icing, these were fairly easy-going and fun. And luckily I finished them and shipped them off before I got hit with this nasty cold.
To make the Plum Cherry Crumb Bars, follow the Raspberry Crumb Bar recipe I made in October and substitute with Sarabeth's Plum Cherry Jam. Yes, it's pricey, but like we said, "Mmm... No time like the holidays to splurge on $10 jam." To make the Linzers, follow the Linzer recipe I used last year. I'll share the recipe and technique next time for the Stained Glass Cookies. For now, let's talk about Brown Butter Crispy Rice Treats.
These are like your childhood favorites, but browned butter, real vanilla bean, and salt give them subtle grown-up touches. I thought this was a gluten-free treat, but discovered that Rice Krispies have malt in them! And a wheat-free cereal I found also had malt, so that means it's wheat-free but not gluten-free. I intended them as a treat for Joe's sis, but I'll have to continue my hunt for gluten-free cereal. Also, although I'm a chocolate lover, I don't advocate for the use of chocolate here because it overwhelmed the other flavors.
These are made much like the way you made them as a kid with mom. The butter is just cooked on low heat a little longer to brown it, and a scraped vanilla bean is added. Can you see the vanilla specks in the melted marshmallow? The cereal is added, then the mixture is poured into a pan and smoothed out. They're more moist than the back-of-the-cereal-box recipe, so I let them sit out overnight.
Brown Butter-Crispy Rice Treats
From Joanne Chang's Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter
vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Two 10-ounce (280-gram) bags marshmallows