Monday, December 13, 2010
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
I live with a man who loves the combination of chocolate and peanut butter perhaps more than it is possible to express. I have an entire category in my bookmarked pages of just chocolate/peanut butter concoctions, which I pull out at random intervals to delight my dear husband.
And these bars, with their crispy bottom layer, smooth peanut butter middle, and fudgy ganache top, did not fail to delight. It required enormous restraint not to eat the entire pan last night.
Please make these soon.
Chocolate PB Crispy Bars
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
1 3/4 c. crispy rice
1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. agave nectar, honey, or light corn syrup
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 c. smooth peanut butter
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/2 tsp. agave nectar, honey, or light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
To make the crispy bottom layer, combine the sugar, water, and syrup/nectar/honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Using a candy thermometer, bring the concoction to 235 degrees (soft-ball stage.) Remove it from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Then, add the caramel to the crispy rice and stir to coat. Press the sticky rice mixture into a greased 8x8in pan using a spatula or your fingers. Set aside.
To make the second layer, melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a double boiler (or a stainless steel mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water.) When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and pour over the crispy rice layer, spreading to evenly coat. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
For the top, melt the butter, chocolate, and syrup/nectar/honey together over a double boiler (or a stainless steel bowl, again.) When the mixture is smooth and shiny, pour it over the peanut butter layer. Tilt the pan so that the ganache rolls over the peanut butter to coat evenly - using a spatula or knife to spread it will cause them to mix together. Return the bars to the refrigerator for at least an hour to set.
Serve cold or at room temperature with a big glass of milk. Good luck not eating the whole pan!
Notes on this recipe: I used organic puffed brown rice cereal, homemade peanut butter (ingredient: peanuts) and unsalted butter, and I added a pinch of salt to the peanut butter layer to help approximate the flavor of store-bought peanut butter. These are delicious, peanut-y, and not overwhelmingly sweet when made this way; I suspect with supermarket ingredients they might be too sweet for me (but perhaps perfect for most people!) I thought about sprinkling the top layer with finely chopped peanuts before putting these in the refrigerator. It would add a great texture and pretty presentation, so maybe next time.
Posted by Kate at 10:35 PM