My dear Melissa brought Oh Henry bars over on Sunday and John went crazy. He’s been bugging me to make some ever since. So while he was out last night I made a run to Trader Joe’s for supplies.
I loved Mel’s version but I had bookmarked a similar ones from Smitten Kitchen ages ago. I decided to follow her recipe with some tweaks.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
3 cups of crisp rice cereal
10 oz. (total) chocolate (I used 65% dark but use whatever you like)
1 cup peanut butter
4 tbsp. (total) butter (I used Earth Balance)
3.5 tsbp (total) blue agave sweetener (more on this below)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
I found these chocolate callets at Trader Joe’s. How amazingly convenient, right? They are 65% cacao, semi-sweet-delicious. Also, the packaging is super helpful telling you on the from that 6 discs = 1 oz. Thank you TJs!
My note about the blue agave sweetener: All the recipes for these kinds of bars call for corn syrup. Even though I’m supposed to be ok with corn syrup, I’m still really not. (This is a cool website about food additives if you care). So I thought I’d take a risk and swap in the agave sweetener. Agave has a slightly sweet taste and the consistency of maple syrup. I figured it would work as well as corn syrup and it totally did.
Let’s begin: Bring your water, 2.5 tbsp. agave, and sugar to a boil. When it reaches soft candy ball consistency (235 degrees), toss in 3 tbsp. butter, melt, pour over your crispy cereal, toss in the salt, stir to coat each piece, and get in into a buttered pan.
This is going to happen fast so you should have a little assembly line all set up for speediness (see pic).
Once your salty, caramely, gooey, crispy cereal is in the pan, pop it in the fridge.
Next up: the peanut butter chocolate layer. Melt 6 oz. of chocolate and 1 cup of peanut butter over a double boiler.
Double boilers are great, they provide low, indirect heat to very gently melt or cook whatever you’re making. I used this recipe as an experiment to test a glass and metal bowl double boiler. Results at the bottom.
When your peanut butter/chocolate mixture is all melted pour it evenly over your chilled crispies. Pop that back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. We want distinct layers of flavor here and everything has to be cooled down completely for that to happen.
Final step: the chocolate layer.
Melt 1 tbsp. butter, 4 oz. of chocolate, and 1 tbsp. agave over another double boiler.
Double boiler experiment results: Metal is better. Quicker to heat up and to melt my ingredients together. It literally took half the time.
Once that melty goodness is all combined, pour over your chilled crispies and peanut butter layer. Cool in the fridge for at least another 30 minutes, preferably an hour.
When you can no longer stand the wait, remove from your chill chest and cup into squares.
Full disclosure: My crispy mixture could have been more stuck together. I updated the recipe above to be the correct quantities so you can use that one without fear.
See the distinct layers? NOM. So good. So happy I brought one with me to work for lunch today.