“They’re magic,” said my sister after her afternoon Peanut Butter Krispie Bar, possibly the first of a few afternoon-bars. My reaction was similar after first tasting one of these chocolate and peanut butter topped caramel rice krispie miracles from a neighborhood bakery near my school in Evanston, IL. One bite into a three-by-four-inch bar, my previous plan of saving it for later was completely forgotten. That bar was gone before I left the building.
It takes no stretch of the imagination to comprehend why these bars are so addictive. Literally, it’s a fresh sugar caramel rice krispie bar layered with peanut butter milk chocolate fudge and a dark chocolate topping. Perhaps what makes them even better is that they’re so easy to make. Take a little bit of friendly Snap, Crackle, and Pop, mix with melted sugar and then pour over some chocolate and peanut butter. Cool and enjoy.
Sure, they’re a little unhealthy. Yes, there is some butter thrown in for good measure. But butter never hurt anyone—ignoring, of course, that little bit of fat butter tends to carry around—and it’s all for a much improved Rice Krispie Bar. Hey, one could even pretend to be ten again and eating rice krispies. And then all the butter and chocolate, the sugar and peanut butter, wouldn’t even matter.
Because that would definitely work, right?
Peanut Butter Krispie Bars
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Kim’s Kitchen in Evanston, IL
3 cups Rice Krispies (puffed rice cereal)
1 ½ cups white sugar
¾ cup water
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Peanut Butter Layer
4 oz. milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy, non-natural peanut butter (reduced fat peanut butter is a little thicker and sweeter, which I find works well in these bars)
Dark Chocolate Layer
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1. Place Rice Krispies in a metal bowl. Butter an 8 by 8 inch metal baking pan on all sides and the bottom. Mix the white sugar, water, and light corn syrup in a saucepan over medium-high heat until dissolved. Once dissolved, heat until sugar mixture begins to boil swirling the sides of the pan. Continue boiling until the sugar begins to turn a light golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in butter and then pour mixture over cereal and combine very quickly. Turn out into prepared pan and push down until the cereal mixture covers the entire pan and is flat. Put aside.
2. Melt the peanut butter and milk chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, stir until combined. Pour over krispie layer and spread evenly with a knife. Place in freezer. While the bars are in the freezer, melt the bittersweet chocolate, light corn syrup, and butter in a double boiler. When melted and combined, pour over the bars and spread evenly with a knife. Return to freezer until chocolate layer has set, then bring to room temperature before slicing. Can be served room temperature, but I prefer them refrigerated.