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CHEWY PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE CEREAL BARS
Makes 9 - 12 bars

Bars:

  • 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter (use Jif, Skippy, or similar; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (light colored, not lite)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal (or similar crispy rice cereal that’s vegan/GF)

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1 1/2 heaping cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, optional but highly recommended to keep chocolate smooth; see below*
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, melted

Method:

  1. For the Bars - Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 heaping cup peanut butter, corn syrup, sugars, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
  3. Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
  4. Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power.
  5. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Stir in the cereal.
  7. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down somewhat firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top; set pan aside.
  8. For the Chocolate Topping - In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, shortening, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt. *I highly recommend using shortening for many reasons. It helps the chocolate melt smoother and easier. It prevents the chocolate from setting up too quickly. It keeps the chocolate from cracking when you slice into the finished bars because the chocolate is fudgier and more forgiving than typical hardened chocolate.
  9. Stop to stir. Chips may not be completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat in 10 to 15-second bursts until chocolate can be stirred smooth.
  10. Pour chocolate over bars, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula or knife; set pan aside.
  11. Add 1/4 cup peanut butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and heat to melt, about 30 seconds. Stir peanut butter smooth.
  12. To create the marbled pattern, drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the width of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks.
  13. Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, “draw” 5 evenly spaced lines through the peanut butter. In essence you’re dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the marbling.
  14. Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until chocolate layer is completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
  15. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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Carter Williamson - Spiegel house, Alexandria 2013. Photos (C) Brett Boardman.

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