I’m going to be honest: this was my second attempt at making these bars from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook. You see, the first time I didn’t make it too far. I started with the crispy rice cereal base and cooked the sugar base exactly as written. I used my candy thermometer and everything. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cooked long enough. The sugar water mess remained, well, a mess. It never got to the point where it became beautiful and syrupy. I mixed it into the cereal anyway, but the cereal turned into mush.
Take two was much more successful. I do think that I will make these a third time with a new modification: double the cereal base. These treats are decadent. The authors of the cookbook say that these can be cut into 9 squares. I say they should be cut into 16 squares. Or 25 squares. The chocolate:peanut butter:cereal ratio was just a little off to me. Mike loved them, though.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
for the crispy crust:
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
for the milk chocolate peanut butter layer:
5 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
for the chocolate icing:
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Make the crispy crust: Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set aside. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
- Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup to the center of the pan, being careful to not let to let it touch the sides of the pan. Using a small wooden spoon, gently stir the mixture until just combined. Place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 – 245°F.
- Remove mixture from heat and stir in butter. Pour mixture over cereal and stir until thoroughly coated. Pour into prepared pan and using the palm of your hand, gently press mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer.
- Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: in a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to let it cool slightly. Pour evenly over crispy crust. Place into the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
- Make the chocolate icing: in a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine all ingredients. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to let it cool slightly. Pour mixture evenly over peanut butter layer. Place into the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
- Cut into 16 squares and serve. Or, store in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.