Being socially awkward comes with this job.
Not that bloggery is a job for me – I wish, but it in’t.
I am a writer however, and for many of us that means we are much happier dealing with the world with a computer screen or a sheaf of paper as mediator. It gives us time to come up with something (hopefully) interesting to say – and a (fingers crossed) clever way of saying it. And we can say what ever it is whilst in our pyjamas, eating baked beans straight from the pot (lets play What’s Polly Doing Right Now…), and no one needs to know.
It is far, far better this way.
Here’s what happens when I do enter the realm of the socially savvy: I creep out of the flat, with no makeup, rocking ratty leg warmers, dorky glasses, and an oversize Army surplus jacket, and immediately bump into a mate who’s waiting for some takeaway outside our local pizza hole. He’s spent the weekend DJing in dark, broody clubs, as you do in Hackney-Upon-Dalstonia, and when asked how I’ve been spending my Jubilee Weekend (Cheers, Ma’am, shame about the husband) I fabulously reply, “Nothing,” – awkward pause – and what am I up to now? “Going to the Co-op to buy ingredients for, uh, Rice Krispie treats…” This was a) true, and b) exactly the kind of thing I’d have deleted and rewritten were I safe at home behind my laptop, being artificially awesome. It earned me an understandably bewildered look, and a quick conversational reroute to the much safer subject of my kitten, and how a courier had thrown a package at him through my open window the other day.
Folks: I know bits of burnt toast who make better conversation than me. Seriously.
Finally reaching the Co-op, I bump into yet another contemporary, this one of the foodie variety, who is looking for a very specific make of gin. He can see from my basket that I am personally foraging for marshmallows and discount toilet roll. Again, when asked what I’m up to, do I rally and fib that I am passing the time before heading to a cheese and wine festival that is currently low on bog roll and processed sugar? NO. Polly tells the nice foodie man that she’s making Rice Krispie treats – brown butter Rice Krispie treats (hoping to gain at least half a grownup point)… And earns herself her second bewildered look of the day, and a polite, understandably hasty farewell.
You lot are the only ones who should know I eat tinned beans in PJs and Doc Martens, and make ‘posh’ versions of little kiddie snacks for fun.
Not that I’ll remember this the next time I’m out at a club; I’ll announce that my kitten likes licking my ears, or that I’ve invented egg fried risotto (true story – SO good), rather than winging it and mumbling that I’m writing a novel about a German synth pop group who invent a new shade of black PVC. Not that I am. That said, I wonder if I’d get published…
Back to the posh kiddie snacks agenda: I devised a twist on these which makes them very much not for kids. Brown butter started the party, then I brought my friend Whiskey along and he raised the bar from sophisto to sexy-to-the-max.
Now I’ve never browned butter before, and I thought it would be stressful and would take a few tries before I got the hang – anything that involves almost burning something but not quite makes me nervous, which is where the alchemist comes in and says, ‘Oh, go on, maybe we’ll discover a new basting glaze this way or something. Go on, go on!’
No new basting glazes were discovered this day, and it only took one go, a fair bit of stirring, and lots and lots of smelling and sighing with delight. Sweet, sweet brown, buttery success.
Try new things. Add whiskey.
Tell local scenesters about the cereal and marshmallows at your own discretion – either way you’ll be the winner with the tasty treats at the end of the day.
Boozy, Salty, Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 115g Unsalted butter, room temperature (plus extra for the pan, optional)
- 1 shot Whiskey (optional but seriously recommended)
- 280g Marshmallows
- Heaping 1/4 tsp Coarse sea salt
- 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Prep an 8-inch square cake pan – or rectangular equivalent – by spraying lightly with cooking spray or dotting the edges with butter or oil, then lining with baking paper (the fat helps it to stay in place).
In a large pot, combine the butter and whiskey and melt over a medium-low heat. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear and golden, then finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
Stir frequently, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Keep an eye on the pot as the period between the butter colouring and burning can be less than a minute.
As soon as the butter takes on a nutty colour, take the pot off the heat and stir in the marshmallows. The residual heat from the pot and melted butter should be enough to melt them, but if not, return the pot to a very low heat until the marshmallows are incorporated and smooth.
Remove the pot from the hob and stir in the salt and cereal together.
Once evenly combined, quickly spread the mixture into the prepared pan. I pressed it down using the back of a metal spoon, with no sticking problems at all – a piece of baking paper could do the trick as well.
Let cool and cut as desired.
These treats have a deep, sensually sweet flavour, with an after note of sophisticated booziness. The speckles of browned butter give them a touch of elegance (yes, we are talking Rice Krispie treats here, folks – and that was a pig that just flew past the window), and they aren’t hopelessly sticky, which makes them both eatable in polite company and moreish, as there’s no evidence that you already ate one (or two…).
In addition to discovering browned butter and alcoholic cereal, I have also established that the arlocat doesn’t understand puffed rice. He didn’t understand the ice-cube-in-water-dish thing either. Cats, they love us, we love them, and there is an unspoken understanding that we may never understand one another, and that’s just fine.
Brown some butter.
Whisk in some whiskey.
Be fearless about breakfast cereal.
Wear leg warmers in June.
Happy 60 Years to Her Maj, long has she reigned – long has her kingdom rained.
See you when things are back to normal, or at least when things have less bunting draped from them.