This time, I tried the peanut butter crispy bars, which are three-layer bars: homemade rice krispie treats on the bottom, topped with a milk chocolate/peanut butter mix, finished with a shmear of dark chocolate. Sounds wonderful, right? Looks pretty good, too:
But they just didn't do it for me. The leftovers actually sat in my fridge for several days, uneaten. To be fair, I think I overcooked the sugar for the rice krispie treat layer (no marshmallows here!), yielding a crunchy, rather than chewy, layer. It was really hard to keep the thermometer in without touching the bottom of the pan, so I'm not sure how accurate my read was. The peanut butter and chocolate layers were fine, but not overwhelming, and not enough to save these.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Crispy crust ingredients
1 3/4 cups rice krispies
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Milk chocolate/peanut butter ingredients
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Chocolate icing ingredients
3 ounces dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 stick unsalted butter
First make the rice krispie layer. Lightly spray an 8" square pan with cooking spray. Put cereal in a large bowl and set aside.
Pour water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup and stir until just combined. Try not to get any on the sides of the pan, because it will crystallize when it heats. Put a candy thermometer in the pan (theoretically, not touching the bottom, but that's hard because it's not a lot of liquid). Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches soft ball stage, or 235F. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter (it will foam up), and pour over the cereal. Now work fast! Stir until the cereal is evenly coated, and then quickly transfer the mixture to the 8" dish and press it evenly across the bottom. Let it cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.
Place the chocolate and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler (a bowl that fits over a saucepan filled with about an inch of water). Cook, stirring, over simmering water, until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and stir it for about 30 seconds to cool slightly, then pour the mixture over the cooled crust and spread it over evenly. Chill in the fridge for an hour, or until the top layer hardens. (If it's warm, you won't be successful with the next step!)
Now it's time for the chocolate layer. Grab the (clean!) double boiler again and combine the dark chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in the bowl. Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water and cook, stirring, until it is melted and well-incorporated. Again, remove the bowl and stir for 30 seconds to cool the mixture slightly. Pour it over the peanut butter/chocolate layer and spread evenly. An offset spatula works well. Cool in the fridge for another hour until the topping hardens, and then cut into squares. I cut about 20 squares. They're pretty rich, so small squares work just fine. Store in the fridge, wrapped, for several days.