Monday, April 9, 2012

P's Birthday Treats (Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars
My boyfriend P's attitude towards food is often, in his own words, "Yea's a can eat it..." -_-... So when he praises (or even remembers) any food past the day he consumes it, I take notice and usually try to recreate it. For years now P's expressed a fondness for a rice krispies bar he used to buy in college. But he wasn't referring to just any plain rice cereal bar...

The Jones' on Easter Sunday
Lexington, Virginia -- where P and I grew up and eventually met
The rice krispies layer was just one of 3 essential components in the treat P described -- the others being almighty chocolate and peanut butter ;p. It wasn't hard to see that a light, crunchy cereal base would be the perfect foil for rich layers of peanut butter and chocolate. If you love the combination of chocolate + PB as much as we do, you'll now understand our interest in recreating this heavenly slice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars 2
Speaking of recreating this bar of lore, I actually made one previous attempt over 3 years ago. Let's just say there was some yelling and a pan full of sweetened bricks where there should've been bars =X. Despite that, um, incident...I gave it another shot for P's birthday this year and they turned out much better this time. In fact P kept threatening to eat the entire tray, which is his special way of telling me I done good =).

I bet you guys have some beloved schoolgirl/boy treats of your own that you've been dying to bring back. I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars 3
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking via Making Life Delicious
Makes about 16 bars (9-inch square pan)

XIAOLU'S NOTES: To make cleaner slices, run the edge of your knife under hot water then wipe it clean before/between each slice. The heat will melt the chocolate so that it slices cleanly instead of cracking under the pressure of the knife.

Rice Krispies Base
3 1/2 cups crisped rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1/2 cup sugar
6 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Large pinch of kosher salt

Peanut Butter Layer
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
*Alternately, you may substitute good quality white chocolate to allow the peanut butter flavor to stand out more
1 cup creamy peanut butter (NOT natural or old-fashioned)
2/3 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping
5 oz. dark chocolate (60% to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 tsp light corn syrup
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
Large pinch of kosher salt

To prepare the base, line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper (base AND sides) then butter the foil/paper. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Add the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small to medium saucepan and stir until just combined. Don’t splash it around. You want to avoid getting sugar on the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat without stirring until mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F. You may have to tip your pan to get sufficient depth to register on a candy thermometer.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and a pinch of kosher salt. Then pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then press it evenly into the prepared pan using the flat bottom of a glass or slightly dampened fingers. Do NOT press down too much or the bars will be too hard. Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

To prepare the peanut butter layer, melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a medium bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (basically a makeshift double-boiler). Stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan to cool slightly, and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust.

Put the pan in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

To prepare the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and pinch of salt together in a medium bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and let it sit for a minute to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled peanut butter layer.

Spread evenly (a small offset spatula works well for this and it also helps to shake the pan gently from side to side to smooth out the surface). Put the pan in the fridge for 1 1/2 hours or until the topping hardens.

Cut into squares and serve. If there are any left, cover tightly and store for up to 4 days.


  1. What devilish bars! a wonderful birthday treat.



  2. Xiaolu, what is *not natural peanutbutter*? For a non-american it sounds like plastic :-) These puppies look good. I may give them a try, if you let me know about the secret, unnatural ingredient :-)

    I did an Easter dish, pasha or pascha, yesterday after 30 years since the previous time. Old as I am, I forgot to add the essential ingredient it is made of :-) It turned out fine, nevertheless. I mean, with butter, cream and sugar it is impossible to go wrong, even if you forget everything else ;-).

  3. Yay for success! I somehow think I have eaten something like this before... and yes they were good. Your homemade ones must be even better!

  4. They look like a great treat! PB and chocolate never goes wrong!

  5. These look so delicious!!! Beautiful photos :)

  6. Oh my gosh the lilacs are already blooming down your way! Wow! We have snow on the ground here;)

    The one cookie from my childhood that I'd like to make is the Italian leaf-shaped cookie that comes in pink and green, and has a thin layer of chocolate sandwiched between the two cookies. Italian cookies are so very tasty.

  7. Thanks you guys!

    Laksmi -- it just means that it's not "natural"-style PB. The natural style which usually is purely ground peanuts, maybe some oil, and a little salt, is healthier, I'm sure, but as long as you avoid any trans fat hidden in them, the non-"natural" variety is still perfectly fine to eat. They usually contain a little emulsifier so that the PB won't separate when it sits. I assume that's the main reason this recipe calls for that specific variety -- the texture and flavor would, I assume, be different with natural PB that quickly oils out. Hope that explains it sufficiently!

  8. Whoa! I want to die and go to peanut butter heaven! Love 'em!

  9. These look insanely good, I especially love the chocolatey texture of that frosting.

  10. These sound lovely! Awesome photos of them outside...makes me want to have a picnic!

  11. What a mood, Xiaolu! Sooo spring, I love it! :)

  12. The husband also reacts to food a very similar way.
    These looks gorgeous and love the mood you set by clicking outside in the bench

  13. These are fantastic. I will be sure to make them.

  14. I've never really understood the obsession with rice krispies treats...until now. Then again, I'm pretty sure you could put chocolate and peanut butter on anything and I'd be interested in it. :P

  15. Looks delicious. Great with hot cup of tea.

  16. Wow! These are gorgeous... I love how neatly it cuts and your lovely presentation! Beautiful post, Xiaolu!

  17. I loove the outdoor pics!!! The rice kriespies look amazing!

  18. I can see why P was so happy! YUM!

  19. I can attest that these were delicious! A BIG HIT at Easter Dinner!

  20. Bahaha P is a lucky guy!!! My boyfriend's attitude toward food is " takes too long to make and then you have to clean up".....I just don't understand!

    PS. Your photos are beautiful! Love the outside scenes.

  21. So delectable...Love the beautiful chocolate layer.....

  22. Ha! Your boyfriend has the same attitude towards food that my mom does. It's just fuel to them. Something I'll never understand.

  23. Aren't all men the same? I mean my husband does not have great food memories either!

    This is such a nice treat! I'd love to try it.

  24. Gorgeous treat! This coming from a non-peanut-butter-lover. I like it, it's okay. But in this context it's actually making my mouth water. Amazing!

  25. Love these they look delish! Can't wait to try this recipe and look at ur other posts! Xx

  26. These look awesome, a grown up take on the rice krispie cakes of my childhood :-) My boyfriend loves his food, but equally he'd probably eat anything if pushed...!

  27. Clicks are adorable. My kids love peanut butter.


  28. these look Dee-LISH! I would have never thought to mix rice crispies with chocolate! I will definitely have to try this recipe.


  29. Ooh what lovely-looking little treats! I've just made a version of Bakeat350's (sorry about lack of linkage; I still can't type on my Fancy phone. Not like on a real keyboard ;0) ) dark chocolate and peanut butter ice cream and I love the flavours so,so, so much that this surely must be my next baking venture!

  30. Hahha. This always happens. Anytime a man really compliments something, you just know it had to be out of this world good. THose bars look amazing, very pretty slices :)


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu