A Rice Krispies Treat of A Different Sort

Rice Krispies and rice flour make these cookies crisp as can be and light as a feather.
Rice Krispies and rice flour make these cookies crisp as can be and light as a feather.

Meet the more elegant and sophisticated Rice Krispies treat.

Sure, there are days for the winsome nostalgia of the marshmallowy, sticky-sweet squares we all grew up with.

But there’s also a time and place for wonderful “Toasted Rice Sables” that take the puffed rice cereal and turns it into airy, crumbly, and crispy-throughout cookies that are oh-so buttery and toasty tasting. They’re also gluten-free.

This clever cookie is from “What’s For Dessert” (Clarkson Potter, 2022), of which I received a review copy.

It was written by one of my favorite baking book authors, New York City-based Claire Saffitz, a best-selling cookbook author who hosts the cookbook YouTube series, “Dessert Person.”

Her desserts are winningly approachable, designed to entice but not to cause any undue stress in their making. Instead, they are doable and delightful.

If you’re like me, you’ll easily find yourself bookmarking many of the 100 recipes to try, such as “Roasted Red Plum & Biscoff Icebox Cake,” Malted & Salted Caramel Pudding,” “Polenta Pistachio Pound Cake,” and “Banana-Sesame Cream Tart.”

As Saffitz explains, “sable” is French for “sandy.” And that’s the perfect way to describe these super light, shortbread-like cookies.

Rice Krispies are incorporated into the dough, and rolled around each cookie ball.
Rice Krispies are incorporated into the dough, and rolled around each cookie ball.

They take on a lovely roasty-toasty flavor from baking the rice flour separately before making the dough.

The rice cereal is incorporated two ways: First, crushed Rice Krispies get mixed into the dough with the toasted rice flour, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and egg. The dough is formed into small balls that get coated one at a time in more Rice Krispies. The balls are then flattened slightly before being baked.

They emerge beautifully golden and light as air. The coating of Rice Krispies give them a pebbled texture that adds even more crispiness.

Just add milk?
Just add milk?

Saffitz says they are best the day they are baked because they are at their crispiest then. I was a little apprehensive, fearing they might soften majorly over the next couple days then. But surprise, they stayed quite crisp, even days later. I added that to the recipe below.

These cookies are the perfect companion to a cup of tea or coffee. Or prop one along the side of a bowl of ice cream. Or simply enjoy their delicate purity all on their own.

Crispy, crumbly, and ethereal.
Crispy, crumbly, and ethereal.

Toasted Rice Sables

(Makes about 16 to 20 cookies)

1 1/2 cups white rice flour (7.9 ounces/225 grams), not glutinous rice flour

3 cups crispy rice cereal (3.5 ounces/100 grams) like Rice Krispies, divided

1/4 cup cornstarch (1.1 ounces/32 grams)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces/170 grams), at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar (3.9 ounces/110 grams)

1 large egg (1.8 ounces/50 grams), at room temperature

Preheat the oven: Arrange an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and another in the lower third and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toast the rice flour: Sprinkle the rice flour across a sheet pan and shake to work the flour into a flat, even layer. Transfer the pan to the upper rack and bake until the flour is lightly browned and smells like popcorn, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set the pan aside and let the flour cool completely. Leave the oven on.

Mix the dry ingredients: Place 1 cup (1.1 ounces/32 grams) of the rice cereal in a medium bowl and crush it with your hands or the bottom of a glass until it’s broken down into bits. Add the cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and cooled toasted rice flour and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Make the dough: In a large bowl, with a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the egg and beat on medium speed to combine, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, beating just until you have a smooth dough. Switch to a flexible spatula and fold the dough several times, scraping the bottom and sides, to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed. If the dough is too soft to handle, refrigerate it for a few minutes so it can firm up.

Prepare the sheet pans: Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll and coat the cookies: Place the remaining 2 cups (2.3 ounces/66 grams) rice cereal in a small bowl and have at the ready. Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop, portion a level scoop of dough and roll it between your palms to form it into a smooth sphere. (Alternatively, roll 2 level tablespoons of the dough into a sphere.) Toss the sphere gently in the rice cereal until it’s completely coated, the place it on one of the prepared sheet pans. Repeat with the remaining dough, dividing the coated spheres between the two prepared pans and spacing them evenly (you should end up with about 16 to 20 pieces total). Use the bottom of a glass or dry measuring cup to flatten the coated spheres one at a time into 1/2-inch-thick rounds.

Bake: Transfer the pans to the oven, placing one on each rack, and bake until the cookies are golden across the surface and golden brown around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes, switching racks and rotating the pans front to back after 10 minutes. let the cookies cool completely on the pans.

Make ahead: The cookies, stored in an airtight container at room temperature, will keep for up to 3 days. they are best eaten on the day they’re baked while the rice is crispy, but they will still be plenty crisp a few days later.

Adapted from “What’s For Dessert” by Claire Saffitz

More Claire Safftiz Recipes to Enjoy: Cranberry Linzer Tart

And: Cranberry-Pomegranate Mousse Pie

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