How Alton Brown Upgrades Rice Krispies Treats

Food Network star and "Good Eats" host Alton Brown has a thing for sprucing up ordinary dishes, and his Rice Krispies treats are anything but ordinary. The food science king has a way of altering ingredients and tweaking techniques to enhance the flavor of just about any food or drink he encounters. From using preserved lemons in lemonade and bread flour in chocolate chip cookies to simple kitchen tricks that will blow your mind like using a muffin tin for meatballs or storing wooden skewers in water bottles, Brown truly thinks of everything.

With the main ingredients in Rice Krispies treats being marshmallows, butter, and (of course) Rice Krispies cereal, it's easy to assume that Alton Brown adds a fourth ingredient to turn 'em up a notch. However, instead of adding to the staple ingredients, or swapping out a key ingredient, he keeps the same recipe we all know and love but changes up the technique for a sense of gourmet flavor.

Alton Brown toasts the Rice Krispies

In a "Pantry Raid" segment, Alton Brown talks Rice Krispies treats and his favorite way to make them. First off, he states the importance of sticking to the true, eponymous ingredient, Rice Krispies — not puffed rice. But it's his next move that might shock you: he whips out the wok to toast the cereal. A big pot with a wide bottom will work just fine, but you may have to work in batches, whereas a wok can hold larger volumes of food.

Starting over medium-high heat, Brown constantly moves the wok to ensure all pieces of cereal are exposed to heat without burning. "That is gonna bring out more of the rice-y flavor, and, believe it or not, that is going to definitely translate into the final dish," says Brown. Once toasty, he transfers the cereal to a separate dish to cool.

Toasting the cereal enhances the flavor, but you know what else does when cooked? Butter.

He browns the butter

That's right, Alton Brown browns his butter for his Rice Krispies treats (no pun intended). In the YouTube video, Brown notes, "We're ... going to cook it until its sugars and milk proteins brown a bit. That is going to bring a considerable amount of flavor to the party." Butter brand Land 'O Lakes explains that browned butter adds a nutty, caramelized flavor to any dish it's included in.

Though fairly straightforward to make, you'll want to be sure your browned butter doesn't burn, which would ruin the batch and require you to start over, wasting both your butter and your time. You don't want to undercook your butter either, as you'll be missing out on the complex flavor the ingredient adds to your Rice Crispy treats. While you can always look for the telltale aroma and color that indicate the butter is ready to be taken off the heat, Today shares you can also use auditory clues to tell when the butter is properly browned.