Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Here’s a new one: skip the marshmallow and coat puffed rice cereal (and salty peanuts) in peanut butter instead. The idea comes from the brilliant sweets masters behind Baked – it’s in the cookbook Baked Elements, which I browsed in my cinnamon bun research. The instant I read the recipe, I knew I had to try these delicious things, which they term “Good Morning Sunshine Bars.”
The method consists of simmering sugar and corn syrup together, then adding peanut butter, salty peanuts, and crunchy rice cereal. The result is a pan of sticky, crunchy sweet stuff that you can cut into perfectly textured, not-too-sweet little candy bars. The name in Baked, good morning sunshine, comes from the fact that you could technically eat these for breakfast (cereal: check. peanut butter: check).
I didn’t, though I think a bite or two could complete an unsatisfying breakfast. I packed the bars up into a bakery box and presented them as a hostess gift. I didn’t even sneak a few on the way there.
- Softened butter for the pan and your hands
- 5 cups puffed rice cereal (I used a brown rice cereal)
- 1¾ cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 4 ounces dark chocolate chips (or chopped good-quality chocolate)
- Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhands the pan on two sides.
- Place the cereal and peanuts in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the mixture is combined.
- Pour the sugar mixture over the cereal mixture and use a spoon or spatula to combine the two mixtures until the cereal is totally coated with the peanut butter-sugar.
- Now scrape the whole mixture out into the prepared pan. Grease your hands with some of the butter and press the mixture evenly into the pan, while being careful not to crush the cereal. Let the bars cool to room temperature.
- Now melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Use a fork to drizzle the bars in a zig zag pattern (more or less). Allow the chocolate to set in the fridge.
- Use the parchment to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut them into bars that are about 1½ inches wide by 4½ inches long. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also store a little longer in the fridge.