20ounces(567g)large marshmallows, about 80 large marshmallows
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
Pinchcoarse, kosher salt
9cups(255g)crisp rice cereal (i.e. Rice Krispies)
1 ½cups(128g)toasted coconut (see note)
14(about 113g)soft caramels
1tablespooncream or half-and-half
½cup(85g)chocolate chips, melted
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9X13-inch pan. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter on low heat and let it cook until the solids start to turn golden brown and it smells caramelly and fragrant (here’s a browned butter how-to if you’d like a visual).
Add the marshmallows and cook on low, stirring constantly until mostly melted, a few small lumps here and there are ok. Add the vanilla extract, coconut extract, and salt and stir to combine.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the rice krispies and toasted coconut. Stir until evenly combined.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and using lightly greased or barely wet (with cold water) hands, lightly press the mixture into the pan (mashing them too hard and you’ll end up with very firm rice krispie treats – so use a gentle hand if you want them chewy).
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the caramels with the cream on 50% power in the microwave until melted and smooth. Drizzle over the Rice Krispie treats (I just use a fork, dip it in the caramel and flick it over the top of the bars). Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until melted (careful not to overheat) and drizzle on top with a fork or spooning the chocolate into a bag and snipping the corner. Let the caramel and chocolate cool and set, about an hour, before cutting the treats into squares and serving.
Let's Talk Toasted Coconut: I definitely recommend using toasted coconut - it amps up the flavor much more than untoasted coconut. I've used both the finely shredded already toasted coconut (similar to the kind used in chocolate haystack candies - I always pick up a bag when I'm at Orson Gygi) and also every day sweetened, shredded coconut that I've toasted in a skillet on the stove. If using regular sweetened coconut and toasting it, you can throw it into the Rice Krispie treats once it is toasted or you can chop (or pulse in a blender) until smaller in texture. Amp up the Caramel Flavor: I haven't tried it (yet!) but you could probably amp up the caramel flavor that is already pronounced because of the browned butter and the caramel drizzled on top by adding a few soft caramels to the marshmallow mixture and letting them melt before adding the Rice Krispies and coconut.For a Crispier Treat: if you want a crispier/less chewy texture, add another cup of Rice Krispies (for a total of 10 cups).