Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

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Peanut Butter Crispy BarsEvery now and then I try a recipe and the result is so good that I need to immediately wrap it up in four layers and stick it in the back of the freezer, all in an attempt to not eat the entire pan while standing at my counter. Not that I would ever think of doing such a thing. Never. These bars are that good. They have a candied crisped rice base (think Rice Krispie treats but flatter and denser) with a peanut butter/chocolate center, and are finished with a dark chocolate top layer. Yes, they are drool worthy.

However, I did run into a few problems: The base ended up really hard in some places and really soft in others which I suspect was a result of me not working fast enough getting it into the pan, although I thought I was doing it rather quickly. This made cutting them difficult because it was difficult to get the knife through those parts. Any advice? The other issue I ran into was the chocolate began to melt a little as I cut them, which made for a really ugly cut. I think the next time I will use tempered chocolate for the top layer.

Photos of the process here.

Ingredients 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

Ingredients for the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Ingredients for the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Preparation
Make the crispy crust
Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put 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 degrees F.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next 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 with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

Make the chocolate icing
In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.

Cut into 9 (Nine? They are nuts! You can easily get 18 from this) squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

Comments

8 Responses to “Peanut Butter Crispy Bars”

    rachel on 1 January 19th, 2009 3:33 pm

    These look great!! I love the idea of a crisped rice crust. Yum!

    Martwork on 2 January 19th, 2009 3:33 pm

    What if you made the bottom layer more like a rice krispy treat? May be easier to cut that way. They look delish!!

    H on 3 January 19th, 2009 3:42 pm

    Rachel, it is SO good.

    Martwork, I thought about that, but the bottom layer is SO good!

    giz on 4 January 24th, 2009 1:27 pm

    It seems you and I have the same “schtick”. Bake it, taste it – OMG it’s delicious – put it in the freezer fast before you eat it all. I can so see myself going crazy on this one.

    Stacie on 5 January 28th, 2009 9:18 am

    I love the taste of chocolate and pb together! This has got to be a great recipe. Thanks for posting!

    Nirvana on 6 February 8th, 2009 12:56 pm

    These look so delicious!!!!

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