Monday, October 25, 2010

PB Chocolate Crispy Bars

A Christmas or two ago, my mom gave me a beautiful cookbook that I loved as much for its unique recipes as I did for its design and aesthetic. Baked: New Frontiers in Baking is gorgeous from cover to cover and makes you want to break out your candy thermometer! I decided to try my hand at a no-bake recipe for a layered bar of rice cereal, milk chocolate peanut butter, and dark chocolate. Yeah, I said it.

These were very rich and delicious, and I was sure to get them out of the house ASAP so people at work could enjoy them. I believe these would have been dangerous to keep in the house!

PB Chocolate Crispy Bars Recipe (makes 16-32 bars)


1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 tbsp. butter, melted (I like salted for this recipe; original called for unsalted.)

Chocolate peanut butter layer
5 oz. good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Dark chocolate layer
3 oz. dark chocolate (60-72% cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
4 tbsp. butter (I like salted for this recipe; original called for unsalted.)

  • Make the crust.
    • Spray a paper towel with cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan. (Next time I make this, I will also add parchment paper to the bottom with the ends overhanging the pan so I can lift the bars out to cut them. If you do this, also rub the cooking spray on the parchment.)
    • Put the cereal in a bowl and set aside.
    • Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan and gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan). Use a wooden spoon to gently 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. Work quickly to stir the cereal until it 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: The recipe calls for melting the chocolate over a double boiler, but I much prefer the ease of using the microwave (an Ina Garten-approved method). Stir together the chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl (I like glass bowls for this). Put bowl in microwave and cook for 20 seconds on high. Take bowl out, stir with rubber spatula, and then place back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Stir. Do this until the chocolate is melted (this took me about 3 rounds). The trick is to not let the chocolate get too hot. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust, and put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the top layer hardens. 
  • Make the dark chocolate layer: In another microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Follow the instructions above to melt the chocolate. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread evenly (you can just tilt pan from side to side to get an even layer on top). Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the topping hardens.
  • I recommend cutting these into at least 16 squares (4 x 4). I actually cut each in half again — because these are pretty rich, I liked having a smaller bite rather than a large square. The original recipe says to cut into 9 squares — I personally think that would be way too huge! The bars can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Enjoy responsibly — I recommend having somewhere to take these soon after they're made!


  1. thanks for the shout-out! Weren't these the ones that had that hint of salt that was absolutely scrumptious??

  2. I love this recipe! I plan to add it to my Christmas baskets this year.

  3. Mom: Those were from a Martha recipe..they were chocolate caramel bars w/a shortbread crust. These are basically a grown-up rice cereal treat crust w/chocolate and peanut butter. Yum yum!

    Linda: That's a great idea! They are refrigerated bars though, so I hope you can keep them cold! :)

  4. I'm obsessed with that cookbook + these bars are aaaamazing. Have you checked out the newest Baked Explorations book? It has some great recipe that I'm looking forward to trying out.

  5. I haven't seen the new cookbook...I'll have to drop hints for this year's Christmas gift! :)

  6. Yum! They looks great and I bet they're delicious! I will be trying this. I'm new here and will enjoy following to see what's cooking! And then I have to check out the cookbook.

  7. Welcome Pam! Thanks for stopping by...I've been enjoying your blog for a few weeks now!


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