Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 16 of Christmas Crafting:
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Oh, the deliciousness.  Since my birthday this summer, I have fallen in love with the two cookbooks from the Baked bakery in Brooklyn, NY.  One of my new favorite treats is from their book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.  Their Peanut Butter Crispy bars are absolutely addicting, and when I was invited to a second cookie exchange, I knew I needed to share these!

Three things to keep in mind for this recipe: They get gooey quickly at room temperature.  I first made them on one of the hottest days of the summer, and they were a sticky (but delicious) mess when we ate them.  Second, they are rich, so a little bit goes a long way.  I like to cut them into little one-inch square pieces.  After all, if people want more, they can always go back for seconds!  Third, this is a 2-3 stage recipe.  The bars need to set in the refrigerator between the second and third layers, so this is not a last minute recipe.  Plan accordingly.

Here's the recipe.  I've scaled it for a cookie exchange, so this will make approximately 48 1-inch pieces.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
(adapted from the recipe in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
5 1/4 c. rice krispies cereal
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. sugar
9 T. light corn syrup + 1.5 t. light corn syrup
9 T. melted unsalted butter
12 T. unmelted unsalted butter
15 ounces milk chocolate chips
3 c. creamy peanut butter
9 ounces dark chocolate

1. Line two 9X13 baking pans with parchment paper.  You want the paper to come up the sides of the pan.  This will let you lift the completed bars out to cut them more easily.  Spray the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Measure the rice krispies into a bowl and set aside.

3. Pour the water into a small saucepan.  Add the sugar and 9 T. corn syrup, making sure to keep it off the sides of the pan.  Stir until incorporated and then put a candy thermometer into the pan.  Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Leave it alone until it hits the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees.

4. Take the sugar mixture off the heat and stir in the 9 T. melted butter.  Then pour this over the rice krispies and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly coat all the cereal.

5. After letting the cereal cool slightly (this will only take a couple of minutes), divide it between the two baking pans and start to push the cereal down to form an even crust covering the entire bottom of each pan.  (Note: If the cereal is sticking to your fingers, wet them slightly with water.)
6. Set the pans aside to finish cooling.

7. Pour the milk chocolate chips in a glass, microwave-safe bowl.  Add the peanut butter.  Stir until mixed together.
8.  Microwave for 30 seconds on high.  Stir the contents, and then microwave for another 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted.
9. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mix over the rice krispy crusts, dividing it evenly between the two pans.  Use a rubber spatula to spread an even layer.  Then refrigerate until the chocolate peanut butter layer has hardened, about 1 hr.
10. Put the dark chocolate (chopped into small pieces, if needed), 12 T. unmelted butter and 1.5 t. corn syrup in a glass, microwave-safe bowl.
11. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir well.  Repeat until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

12. Pour half of the dark chocolate mix over the chocolate peanut butter layer in each pan and spread an even layer.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
13. To cut the pieces, pull the parchment paper straight up and transfer the bars to a cutting board.  Peel down the paper.  If you are using a pan with curved edges (like mine above), I recommend trimming off the edges to ensure easy cuts and that each piece has the appropriate proportion of each layer.  I cut 24 pieces from each pan.

14. Enjoy!

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