Tag Archives: madison

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

As you can tell, I’ve switched my layout! I finally did so because I was hearing it was hard to know how to comment…and that wasn’t good! So, I sincerely hope you’ll start/continue to comment! And please keep in mind that as of now, I’m not totally satisfied with the look…I’ll be revising! On to today’s post…

I told you yesterday that yesterday was my birthday! Today I’m going to share my birthday cake with you! As I said, I didn’t make it, which unfortunately means no details on the process of making it or even a recipe (but, if you google the cake, I’m sure you could find a similar recipe!). Man, this cake was gooood! It was so dense, rich, and moist. As I said yesterday, I’m not a huge fan of frosting, except for cream cheese frosting. This was a cream cheese based frosting!

I had a great birthday yesterday and this cake was the perfect way to end it! A special thanks to Madison for making the cake!

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Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt

When I told Rob what I was making, he commented that I seemed to be very addicted to this whole salted chocolate thing. Ha! Guys! Well, actually, I do admit I’ve been drawn to this “trend” lately, but if it’s a yummy trend, who cares?! Right?

The Details…

The Process: Well, this should be a pretty simple, easy recipe to execute. Notice the emphasise on “should?” I was being naughty when I was melting the chocolate and didn’t keep a close enough eye on it. It overheated. A little bit of panic came, but I was able to rescue it, adding melted butter, much more milk, and a little bit more chocolate! I was so proud of myself! But really, this shouldn’t be too hard of a recipe.

Notes on Ingredients Used: The original recipe called for stove top popped popcorn. I happened to only have microwave popcorn on hand, so that’s what I used! Either would work though!

The Verdict: It’s chocolate! How could Rob and Madison not love it?! And let me tell you, they sure did! I thought it was good too! I’m sure this would be an awesome crowd pleaser.

Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt

Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

3 bags microwave popcorn OR 1 cup unpopped stove top popcorn kernels

12 ounces chocolate (any kind, but I used semi-sweet)

2 tablespoons butter, cut into smaller pieces

splash of milk (any kind will do…I used whole milk)

1-3 tablespoons (to taste) sea salt, kosher salt, or a mixture of the two

Pop your popcorn. Allow to cool.

In a double boiler, or just a glass mixing bowl over boiling water, melt the butter, chocolate chips and splash of milk.  Stir until melted and smooth. Watch carefully! 

To coat the popcorn: You’ll probably want to do so in batches. Thirds work well. Pour the popcorn (1/3 of it) in a mixing bowl and add 1/3 of the melted chocolate.  Grab a wooden spoon and gently stir in the chocolate, ensuring that all of it is covered in chocolate. you might find that this is more difficult than it sounds…what I did, silly as this may sound, is put two plastic bags on my hands and then just mixed it with my hands. This worked well. You could, of course, use actual plastic gloves (I just didn’t have any).  Then spread the chocolate popcorn out on waxed paper, and liberally top with a sprinkling of salt. Do other two batches.

Let it sit for a few hours or until dry and then put in airtight container until ready to serve. Or, start gobbling it up right away!

*Note: If you want more chocolatey popcorn in the end, either melt more chocolate or make less popcorn. If you want less chocolatey popcorn, increase the amount of popcorn you use. The amounts given work very well though…not too sweet but still decidedly chocolatey!

UPDATE: I was notified that it’s tricky to find out how to leave comments on my posts…and that is not good! Upon hearing that, I realized it is quite true! I want to hear from you…I really, really do! So, in case you’re wondering how you do leave a comment, you click on the post’s title and scroll down…hopefully then you should see a box for comments. Or, click on the number to the right of the date (next to the post’s title; the number stands for the amount of comments already left). I will also do my best to see if there’s an easier/more obvious way. Stay tuned and feel free to leave a comment, even if it’s just to say hi!

SECOND UPDATE: After mulling around the possibility of just getting a totally new format, I think I’ve decided to keep the blog as is. Hopefully the directions listed above are sufficient in helping you leave comments…and please do leave ’em! Thanks!

Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

I don’t know about you, but how can you not love salted caramel? I just go mmmmm thinking about it! When I spotted this recipe, I knew it was something I had to try immediately.

Yum.

Unfortunately, I only have these two pictures. Yep, you heard me right. Looking back, it was quite irresponsible of me to only capture this amount. But really, maybe not. I mean, hopefully these pictures will have convinced you already that you need to make these. Because, of course, you do!!!

The Details…

The Process: Admittedly, these are probably the most complex recipe I’ve posted yet. Even then, they’re not suuuper tricky. The cupcakes themselves are quick and easy to whip up…no butter in them means you don’t have to plan for letting butter come to room temperature (no butter??? yes, i can hear you shouting that! have no fear though, there’s plenty in the recipe still!). The caramel filling…oh my, now this is where you might have issues. I’m thinking I might have a terribly off candy thermometer, or maybe the recipe was just flawed, but the first batch was not good. It tasted burnt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a whole new batch…half a batch, yes though. Paying no attention to the thermometer, my half batch came out wonderfully. Oh, it was divine! The amount was absolutely perfect too. The frosting is also quite easy to whip up. I had gotten ingredients to make a full batch, but realized that it seemed like far too much (4.5 sticks of butter!?). Half a batch was the perfect amount.

The Verdict: YUUUM! I, shocking as it may be, am not a true chocolate fan. I have grown to love it more over the years, but still am not a crazy fan. However, these…these were good. Really good. Only thing I’m not completely pleased with is how the caramel hardened up…it tastes great, but I would have liked a more ooey-gooey texture from it. Oh well. Still great! Rob devoured his in about four bites. Let’s just say he liked it. Madison quite liked them, but noted next time she would prefer a little less sea salt sprinkled on the frosting. I admit I maybe went a bit overboard, but I personally liked the more hefty sprinkling.

Dark Chocolate Salted-Caramel Cupcakes

Adapted from Bake or Break

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Cupcakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup warm water

Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.

Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling*

1 ¼ cups sugar

1/3 cup water

½ tablespoon light corn syrup

3/8 cup heavy cream

1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt

Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake.

Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized.  (Note: Original recipe says to use candy thermometer and cook until mixture just reaches 360°…this resulted in burned caramel for me. It could have been that my thermometer is broken though, so just use caution if you choose to follow according to temperature.)

Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.

Immediately, spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.

Dark Chocolate Frosting*

¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon boiling water

1 1/8 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ pound semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved or at least a paste has been created.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture (note, this will liquefy the frosting considerably, but it should still be spreadable…if not, place in fridge).

Using a pastry bag or simply a knife, frost the cupcakes. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted, but you may store in a refrigerated airtight container.

*You may double the recipe, but the amounts shown should be plenty.

GO! Make these! It’s a great wow dessert for company, but hey, realistically, they’re going to please anyone. That means even if they’re just for you, they’re worth making!

Chocolate Toffee Cookies…and A Note

Hi Everyone! Sorry I’ve been sort of MIA (it’s been about a week since my last post)…more on that later. Anyway, even though I haven’t kept up with my posting, I have done some baking! Last Thursday, I whipped up the Peanut Butter Krispy Bars I made here again. Yes, there was a reason though. You see, I was going to a gathering with Amanda, Shelly, Leslie, Katrina, and Julie. I had this great plan…I was going to make S’more Whoopie Pies that were gluten-free (Leslie is gluten-intolerant). However, at the store, a key ingredient to achieving a good gluten-free whoopie pie was nowhere to be found. I had to go to a plan B, which was something I knew I could whip up quickly and would be tasty (AKA, these bars!). Let me just say that these bars were the only thing to get entirely eaten up at the gathering (others had brought non-gluten-free brownies with a peanut butter swirl and a gluten-free cake).

On Friday, I made Moulleux au Chocolate, which is a lava cake I learned how to make while on vacation in Paris (I served it with store-bought vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce left over from these, and chocolate ganache left over from a recipe I made prior to this blog). I’m still perfecting how to make it, so I’m not going to post it. I unfortunately didn’t get to snap any pictures either. Sorry!

On this past Monday, I made Chocolate Toffee Cookies. It was a new recipe, one I found on Smitten Kitchen.

(Notice in the last two pictures the cookie getting eaten? It totally was wasn’t me!)

The Process: These were easy enough to mix up…they do require some time in the refrigerator/freezer though, so that adds on a bit of time (wow…all three recipes I’ve shared with you so far require quite a bit of hands off time…trust me, it’s purely coincidence!).

Notes on Ingredients Used: I used Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate (the recipe called for either bittersweet or semi-sweet). Because the recipe didn’t specify what type of brown sugar to use, I used light brown (it was what I had handy). For the Heath bars, I bought a package of mini sized bars. I weighed out 7 ounces (what recipe called for), plus a few bars extra and chopped them up. I did not use walnuts, as they were optional, and I know Rachel, Madison, and Rob prefer no nuts in their sweets. For the sprinkling of salt on top of each cookie, I used kosher salt (this was a nice touch…I personally love doing this with cookies…note the salt in the pictures!).

The Verdict: Honestly, I really didn’t get much of a reaction from Rob or Madison. Rob actually commented that we thought there was a coffee taste to the cookie, but when I told him it was Heath bar, he seemed to get it. Rachel literally gave me no reaction. Eli and Lexie apparently liked them, although I wasn’t around when they tried them. Me? I though they were good enough, but not wow. From the comments on Smitten Kitchen and Deb (the woman behind Smitten Kitchen), I was expecting more. The cookies do have a nice texture when you bite into them, but honestly, it was hard to taste the toffee most of the time. Perhaps in the future, if I were to make these cookies again, I would chop the Heath bar into bigger pieces and do more than the 7 ounces the recipe called for (I did do slightly more than 7 ounces, but I think even more would be needed). Am I begging to bake these up again? No. Because the recipe calls for a whopping pound of chocolate, these are more on the expensive side. I’m okay with expensive, as long as they’re totally worth it. Not so sure these are. Finally, as you know from this post, I absolutely LOVE cookie dough. This cookie dough wasn’t my favorite. But trust me…it didn’t stop me from eating it! UPDATE: Rachel ended up giving me a big reaction. She looooved these! I think if you’re a big chocolate lover, these are the cookies for you!

Chocolate Toffee Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used bittersweet)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7-10 ounces* chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped**
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped (optional…I didn’t use)
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional, but highly recommended)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 3-5 minutes. Slowly beat in chocolate mixture, and then vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts, if using. Chill batter in fridge until firm, about 45 minutes. Then, choose one of the following methods for baking.

Scooping Method: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets.

Slice and Bake Method (what I did and recommend): Roll the dough into a log 1.5 inches in diameter on waxed paper (roll up the sheet of waxed paper around the dough log) and chill it in freezer until firm, about 1 hour (note that you can make the diameter whatever you want…you just might have to vary your baking time).  Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into 1/2-inch slices.  Place on sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 12-17 minutes (reason for possible extra time compared to scooping method is because cookies baked straight from the freezer may need this extra time, depending on their thickness).

Store airtight at room temperature.

*Depending on how much toffee flavor you want…I personally would go for about 9-10 ounces.

**How coarsely you chop them is up to you…for a more flavorful cookie, I would go for larger pieces. That’s what I recommend.

My final advice on these cookies? They’re worth trying, but if you can only make one recipe I’ve shared so far on this blog, I recommend the Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls.

Now, it’s time for the note section of the post. As I mentioned in the beginning, I have been awfully MIA recently. I am going to continue to work on this blog, but I can’t promise how often it will be. I’m going to aim for every time I bake (which is normally at least once a week), but again, I don’t want to make any promises. Nevertheless, I really hope you’ll continue to read my blog and try the recipes! Don’t be afraid to leave a comment to say hi or let me know how a recipe turned out! Additionally, if you want me to try a recipe, let me know! I’ll do my best! Thanks!

UPDATE: As it turns out, I’ve decided to bake today…this means another post today! Think of it as making up for my period of MIA-ness!? Make sense?! I’ll be back soon!

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Let me ask a question…who doesn’t like cookie dough? Everyone’s hand up? If yours isn’t, first of all, what is wrong with you!!???!!!??, and second of all, you might not like today’s recipe. Or, maybe I’ll convert you to liking cookie dough! But don’t worry, readers, I’m not suggesting you eat cookie dough with raw eggs (but, um, *insert my hugely guilty face*, I do admit to doing that everytime I bake cookies once in a while). So, you ask, what do you use instead? Greek yogurt! Yep, you heard me right…Greek yogurt. Let me say though that if someone had made this dough and given it to me, I would have had no idea it contained anything out of the ordinary, let alone Greek yogurt! Let’s start looking through the photos…these aren’t even showing the finished product yet!

Is your mouth watering yet? Now, dipped in chocolate.

Looking good? Well, while I was making the chocolate, I got an idea…what would it be like to drizzle caramel over each dough ball?! I couldn’t resist trying! Observe:

In the end, I didn’t drizzle all of the dough balls with caramel, just so I would be able to taste the variety.

Time for the details!

The process: These are really as simple as making an easy chocolate chip cookie…then you make your dough balls, and freeze. Next, you melt your chocolate, which is again, simple as can be. Dipping your dough balls might just be the most challenging part…and trust me, I think you can handle it. Once again, you freeze ’em. If you add the caramel drizzle, it will add on a little more time and something a bit more challenging, but once again, it’s nothing too hard. In the end, these are pretty easy to make…they just have some hands off time for freezing that makes them take a little bit of time from start to finish.

Notes on ingredients used: The recipe called for brown sugar, and I used light brown, as that’s what I had handy. It worked nicely. The Greek yogurt I used was Chobani Plain, Non-fat Greek Yogurt. As I said before, I was beyond pleased. You can also use applesauce or peanut butter…I’m thinking peanut butter might give an interesting flavor that would be worth trying. I didn’t have enough regular chocolate chips, so I used some mini too. The mix of the large and small chips is kind of nice, but I don’t think either one is better than the other…use what you have and it should work out! The recipe calls for walnuts as an optional ingredient and knowing Rob, Rachel, and Madison would not be pleased with nuts in their cookies, I left those out. I think this is personal taste. Because I decided to make the caramel drizzle on a whim, I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand…I looked up a quick substitute online (3/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup melted butter equals 1 cup heavy cream…I only had skim milk, so I added about a tablespoon of flour to thicken it up a bit). I think in the future, the real thing would be best, but this worked out okay.

The verdict: Rachel loved them. She said she liked them both, but the caramel drizzled one was slightly better because it added “a little kick.” She’d be glad if I made either kind again though. Rob and Madison both said, “Oh my gosh!” Then they both didn’t say another word. Trust me though and take my word that it was a good “oh my gosh.” Really, trust me. And what about me? I loved ’em too. I liked them not long after I finished the caramel drizzle and had frozen them for about 20 minutes, but after trying them again a few hours later (than the last time I tried them)…even better. If that was possible and all. Yep. They’re that good. As to which I like better, the caramel or the plain chocolate? It’s a toughie, because neither are bad, but I’ll have to go with the caramel, for similar reasons to Rachel. UPDATE: This morning (Thursday), Madison declared these were her new favorite dessert. It may seem like a silly claim, but trust me, it takes a lot for her to say that. I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agree, but still, it goes to show you they really are that good!

I think these are easily something you could tweak to your liking. For example, instead of a semi-sweet chocolate topping, how about a rich, dark chocolate? You could also experiment with topping the dough balls with crushed candy bars after you’ve put on the chocolate topping. One other idea would be to infuse the chocolate topping with a mint extract…that could be worth trying! I also think you could use any cookie recipe you wanted and replace the eggs with the Greek yogurt. Play around and have fun!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

adapted from Joy The Baker

makes around 32 balls

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Greek yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter (I used plain Greek yogurt)

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda (for flavor)

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (could be mini)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate (for chocolate topping)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment (or with a large bowl and a wooden spoon) cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in yogurt or applesauce or peanut butter along with the vanilla extract and stir to combine.  

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add all at once to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.  

Form balls any size you like on a parchment lined cookie sheet (roll to get a nice round shape).  If you want, spear each dough ball with a cute plastic fork or a popsicle stick or something of that nature (I did not, but it might be helpful when dipping into the chocolate topping).  Place in the freezer overnight or until frozen, around two hours (it will greatly depend on the size of your dough balls).

When ready to dip the balls, melt chocolate in a double boiler over a low flame.  Remove balls from the freezer and dip into warm chocolate.  *Return to the lined cookie sheet and return to the freezer to harden.  **Serve cold from the freezer.  

*If you want to top with candy, now would be the time.

**If you want to top with the caramel drizzle, drizzle now and freeze again. You should be able to drizzle it over the dough balls simply by using a spoon…but do whatever works for you!

Caramel Sauce Used as Drizzle (optional)

adapted from simplyrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 cup of sugar

6 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Method

First, before you begin, make sure you have everything ready to go – the cream and the butter next to the pan, ready to put in. Making caramel is a fast process that cannot wait for hunting around for ingredients. If you don’t work fast, the sugar will burn. Safety first – make sure there are no children under foot and you may want to wear oven mitts; the caramelized sugar will be much hotter than boiling water.

Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on. Note that this recipe works best if you are using a thick-bottomed pan. If you find that you end up burning some of the sugar before the rest of it is melted, the next time you attempt it, add a half cup of water to the sugar at the beginning of the process, this will help the sugar to cook more evenly, though it will take longer as the water will need to evaporate before the sugar will caramelize.

As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably. This is why you must use a pan that is at least 2-quarts (preferably 3-quarts) big.

Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes*, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm before serving.

Makes a little over one cup of sauce, which will be beyond plenty for your dough balls. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out something else to do with the rest of it…perhaps over ice cream? Or maybe a chocolate cake? But hey, if you want to eat it by itself, I won’t judge! 🙂

*At this point, it’s ready for drizzling over the dough balls.

My final advice? GO! Make these! You will not regret it (well, regarding your waistline, you might…but they’re so worth it!!).

Peanut Butter Krispy Bars

Hi Everyone! As you know, it’s my first post! To learn more about the intent of this blog, head on over to the about page! Let’s get started with today’s post though!

Yesterday, I made Peanut Butter Krispy Bars, a recipe I had never tried before. It comes from Smitten Kitchen, a site I truly love and visit often.

These bars basically consist of three layers: a rice krispy layer (not the marshmallow or peanut butter type you might be accustomed too), a chocolate peanut butter layer, and a chocolate layer to finish it off. When the bars are done, it looks like the majority of the dessert is the chocolate peanut butter and chocolate layer…this is partly due to the fact that the chocolate peanut butter layer seeps into the rice krispy layer. Just thought I should note that.

The process: The actual process of making the bars was quite simple and easy to do. However, from start to finish, it took hours. Much of that time was not hands on though, as you had to let the bars chill at several points before moving on to the next step.

Notes on ingredients used: I used reduced fat peanut butter, as that’s what I had on hand. It worked perfectly fine. I always use unsalted butter in my recipes, and in here it worked out great as usual. For the chocolate peanut butter layer, I used semi-sweet chocolate (recipe says semi-sweet or milk), and again, I was pleased. For the chocolate icing, I used a bittersweet chocolate with a 60% cocoa content. Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but I thought it worked out wonderfully once again!

The verdict: YUM! I love ’em! The taste testers though (click on link for info!)? Not so much. Rachel immediately commented on how she liked the regular rice krispy bars recipe better (a peanut butter rice krispy bar with butterscotch chocolate frosting…a common enough recipe…one Rachel, Rob, Madison, and I all enjoy for the record). Madison’s first word was, “Rich.” She continued to go on though and say they weren’t her favorite, elaborating that she isn’t a fan of peanut butter and chocolate mixed. From this, I gather that if you are a fan of this combo, you’ll enjoy this recipe. For example, if you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do, I think you’ll like these bars as well. Rob seemed to enjoy them at first, even going for a second later in the day (Madison and Rachel declined a second). However, he decided that he really didn’t like it much either…for Madison’s reasons. He did however love the chocolate icing. He proceeded to eat that layer and give the rest to me (which, hey, I did take off his hands 🙂 ). In the end, the consensus was that this was not a keeper recipe…except for when I want a dessert all to myself. Let me stress again that I love these. If you like the peanut butter chocolate combo, you will most likely too.  As you can tell from the pictures, I’ve been eating them up waaaaay faster than I should. But, mmmm, they’re good.

Go, make them!

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 

For the crispy crust
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter (can be reduced fat)

For the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa; 60 is what I used), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter

Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a double boiler, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set over simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refridgerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

Make the chocolate icing: In a double boiler, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

Set over simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove from heat and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and shake the pan gently to coat the bars entirely and evenly (this way, you avoid the risk of picking up any of the peanut butter layer, with say, a spatula, for example). Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.

Cut into pieces and enjoy! Be warned that you’ll go back for seconds, and thirds…maybe even fourths! However, the bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days (ya, right!).