Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Bars

My friend Bob is always encouraging me to find new ways to use crispies (aka Rice Krispies) in my desserts, so Bob, this one’s for you.  This recipe comes from Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking.  Crispy puffed rice cereal, peanut butter, chocolate…its hard to see how this could go wrong.

Looking at the original recipe, I immediately thought..where’s the salt?  There is some salt in the peanut butter, but I think that it should be included in the crust and icing as well.  I also added a little vanilla to the peanut butter mixture which was a huge improvement.  Lastly, I simplified the technique some because I found the original recipe to be a little fussy (why melt butter before you add it to molten hot sugar?).

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Adapted from a recipe from Baked:  New Frontiers in Baking

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CRUST (if you like more crunch, double this portion of the recipe)

  • 1 ¾ cups crisped rice cereal (e.g. Rice Krispies, gluten-free, store brand, etc.)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • large pinch of kosher salt

PEANUT BUTTER LAYER

  • 5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural or old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE ICING

  • 3 ounces dark chocolate (60% to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • large pinch of kosher salt

THE CRUST

Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil then butter the foil.

Put the cereal in a medium bowl and set aside.

Add the sugar, corn syrup and water in a very small saucepan and stir until just combined.  Don’t splash it around.  You want to avoid getting sugar on the sides of the pan.  Cook over high heat without stirring until mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.  I had to tip my pan to get sufficient depth to register on my candy thermometer.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and a pinch of kosher salt.  Then pour the mixture over the cereal.

Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then press it into the prepared pan.  Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

THE PEANUT BUTTER LAYER

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a medium-size bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (aka double-boiler).  Stir until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan to cool slightly and stir in the vanilla.  Pour the mixture over the cooled crust.

Put the pan in the fridge (or outside if it’s colder there than in your fridge…brrrr) for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

THE CHOCOLATE ICING

Melt the chocolate, corn syrup, butter and pinch of salt together in a medium-size bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (aka double-boiler).  Stir until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the pan and let it sit for a minute to cool slightly.  Pour the mixture over the chilled peanut butter layer.

Spread evenly (a small offset spatula works well for this).  Put the pan in the fridge for 1 hour or until the topping hardens.

Cut into squares and serve.  If there are any left…and that is a big “if”…store them in the fridge, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.

TASTING NOTES:  These bars are very rich with great flavor and a nice balance of peanut butteriness to chocolate.  However, I wanted even more crunch, so next time I make them, I will double the ingredients in the crispy crust.

 

23 Comments

  1. mouth-watering! that looks great+easy! AND it ist glutenfree!! Thank you!

    Reply
    • I know, I’m all excited to get to the store for gluten free krispie cereal to make this one!!

      Reply
      • Stopping in with my results: I used EnviroKids gluten-free krispies, and while I wouldn’t eat them plain, they worked just fine for the crust. Like you, I wanted MUCH MORE crispy! I am considering actually tripling the krispies and using a 13×9 pan next time… although my victims didn’t share my assessment and would be just as happy with the recipe as written, so they claim. :)

        Reply
  2. I can totally understand your Daring bakers post this month being so long. There are so many steps! I worked on mine all weekend! Great looking treat today though, love the PB & chocolate!

    Reply
  3. This sounds incredible!!! I’m almost scared to actually try it out ’cause I know I’ll be eating the whole lot myself. My poor husband wouldn’t see a crumb of it!

    Looking forward to seeing your mammoth DB post! I’m glad I got mine done early :)

    Reply
  4. THANK YOU BOB! B/C this looks beyond perfection!

    Reply
  5. I wanted to revert to childhood and make rice krispie treats so badly this weekend! Sadly I did not…but I’m more inspired than ever now! Great pictures and recipe!

    Reply
  6. I’m loving this blog! These look great and here’s a weird question, do you have a trick to cutting them so perfectly? I’ve been reading your other posts too and I find that my bars/brownies literally crumble in comparison to yours when it comes to presentation. Also, btw I made your gumbo the other night and it was to die for– loved that spice mix– the only thing I did differently was add zucchini, okra, spinach, and a homemade seitan instead of sausage– twas incredible, keep writing and I’ll keep reading!
    Thanks : )

    Reply
    • Hi Lisa,

      First off, thanks! I love that you are loving the blog! In answer to your question about cutting things, I use different methods depending on the item to be cut. However, I find that the most consistent & reliable method is a hot dry sharp knife (that’s what I used on these bars). Run your knife under the hottest water in your sink and then wipe it quickly with a dish towel then cut. When I want my bars to be really clean (like if I’m about to photograph them and put them on the Internet), I repeat this process before every cut. A couple of other small hints…I almost never cut something in the pan. I line my baking pans with parchment or aluminum foil so I can lift or turn out the bar or cake before cutting. I also measure with tape measure to keep my cuts uniform. Lastly, temperature can be important. Some items cut better at room temperature, some cold. Good luck and thanks for the comment! — H

      Reply
  7. This looks amazing! I’ve been working on a marshmallow-free version of peanut butter rice krispy treats and this gave me such motivation! Thank you!

    Reply
  8. Wow! This looks DIVINE! I’m drooling and will be making this realllllly soon! Great blog :-)

    Reply
  9. These look amazing! I’ve been trying to find a recipe for Rice Krispies treats that’s a little bit different… a layer of chocolate and peanut butter is just genius. I love your photos too!

    Reply
  10. Saw this on Dessert Stalking… you have my son’s all time favorite dessert! He actually asked for this for his birthday. Thanks for reminding me of it… I think I will surprise him with a batch of these after school today!
    Gorgeous pic too!

    Reply
  11. “Add the sugar, corn syrup and water in a very small saucepan and stir until just combined. ”
    How much water?

    Reply
    • Oh…good catch Joel. 1/4 cup of water. Thanks for pointing this out, I’ve corrected the post. — H

      Reply
  12. How in the heck did I miss these perfect looking bars! I love this kinda stuff except for that thermometer but I know we need to use those occasionally. What wonderful delicious looking photos I hope that went on foodgawker. Well I must buy me a new thermometer now since I killed my old one.

    Reply
  13. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    I also run a food blog and will be featuring your recipe this afternoon.

    Reply
  14. How did you cut and get the edges so straight, did you freeze first?

    Reply
    • Nope. However, they were quite cold and I used a hot dry knife, reheated and wiped dry before each cut. — Heather

      Reply
  15. I don’t have a candy thermometer. Is there any way of heating the sugar mixture by a period of time instead of knowing the temp?

    Reply
    • Hi Meg,

      There is another method you can use if you don’t have a candy thermometer. The low tech way is to periodically drop the hot syrup into some ice water. When the syrup is not yet hot enough, the syrup will just be syrup or thready, but as you approach the appropriate temperature and you continue to test, the syrup acts differently in the freezing water. You will know you are at the right temperature when your drop of hot syrup in the ice water can be easily gathered into a soft ball. If it has really reached soft-ball stage, the syrup easily forms a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed from the water. This video illustrates this well. I learned to make candy this way back in the 80s, but the drawback of this method is that once you have heated the syrup beyond this stage to firm ball, there is no rescuing it. For that reason, I would urge you to consider purchasing a candy thermometer if you want to make your own caramels or any kind of candy. They aren’t expensive, I use mine frequently and it cost less than $10. Good luck! – Heather

      Reply

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