Friday, May 25, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

As an elementary school teacher, I should have known better. Whatever you put off limits or ask students not to do is immediately more desirable.

That's why there are no pictures of me slicing these bars.

I told my friend Thomas that my hands always look huge when I take pictures of myself cooking. Which of course meant he proceeded to take a series of photos designed to make my hands look as huge as possible.

He was successful.

Any hands you see in these pictures are his. Mine have been edited out.

When I was in college, friends wrote a play called "Don't Look at the Monkey" where they explored this concept. The premise: put a monkey in the center of the room, tell people not to look at it, and then have actors perform around it.

We never put it on, since it was hard to get our hands on a monkey, but we knew what would happen. People would watch the monkey, just because they were being told not to.

And because monkeys on their own are pretty entertaining. 

Luckily you don't miss much without the "me slicing the bars" photo. The bars themselves are the real stars here.

I visited Baked earlier in the day, saw these, and knew that's what I would be baking that night.

They are addictive. I have three left in my fridge right now, and it's taking all my self restraint to not eat one now. Before dinner.

There's a crispy bar on the bottom, less sweet than a Rice Krispy treat and even more delicious. Next, there's a decadent chocolate and peanut butter layer that just melts in your mouth. A layer of melted chocolate on top finishes it all off perfectly.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
recipe slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking to use richer chocolates and be more salty

1 3/4 cups crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons salted butter

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Layer:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural!)

Chocolate Topping: 
3 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons salted butter

Prepare the crust: Grease a 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour the cereal into a large bowl. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water and corn syrup, being careful that the corn syrup doesn't touch the sides of the pan. Stir the mixture gently until the sugar dissolves.

Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 235 degrees (soft ball stage). Do not stir the mixture while it is heating.

Remove the mixture from the heat, and stir in the salted butter. Immediately pour the mixture over the crispy cereal, and stir until the cereal is coated. Pour the cereal mixture into the pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan so it is smooth. Allow the crust to cool to room temperature.

Prepare the chocolate and peanut butter layer: In the top of a double boiler over low heat, combine chocolate and peanut butter. Cook, stirring regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the double boiler. Continue stirring for about 30 seconds, allowing the mixture to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Allow the mixture to harden in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Make the chocolate topping: In the top of the double boiler, combine chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Stir the mixture until it is smooth. Remove the bowl from the double boiler. Continue stirring for about 30 seconds, allowing the mixture to cool a bit.

Pour the chocolate topping over the chocolate and peanut butter layer, spreading the mixture until it is evenly distributed over the top of the bars. Return the pan to the refrigerator, and allow the top layer to cool for about an hour, or until the top has hardened.

Slice the bars into small squares and serve. The bars will keep for at least 4 days, refrigerated.


  1. Perfection in a pan! If I had crispy rice cereal I would be in the kitchen right now making these. I'm almost afraid to buy the cereal necessary to make them, because I would probably continue to make them until the box of cereal was gone!

    (And funny about your hands in photos - I just deleted some photos that had my hands in them!)

    1. Thanks! I was lucky enough to make them at a friend's house, so I left the box of cereal and all but three of the bars behind. That's one of my favorite techniques--cook somewhere else and leave almost everything behind.

      And I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who doesn't love my hands in food photos!

  2. What is it about hands? I am always horrified when I see mine in photos! But anyway, these look incredible, that smooth chocolate layer on top is killing me!

    1. Agreed! At that point, I just had to focus on these bars. I think a layer of chocolate on top makes just about everything better.

  3. (A) I REALLY need to go to baked. Like...stat.
    (B) Or....I really just need to bake these. Because seriously...amazing.

    1. I would recommend both options because Baked has these chocolate samoa bars right now that are worth trying for sure.

  4. Delicious! I want to make these for a baby shower I'm hosting next week. Look too tempting! You can't go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate.

  5. Katie

    These bars are going camping with me. I've just printed the recipe and I'm off to get the ingredients.