Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
makes 24 2x2-inch bars
For the bottom layer
3 1/2 cups crisped rice cereal
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and browned, browning is optional, but good
For the middle layer
7 1/2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
For the top layer
6 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
8 Tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter
Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving excess hanging over the side for easy removal. Place the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, pour in 1/2 cup water; add the sugar and corn syrup and gently stir to combine. Using a candy thermometer placed in the pan, bring the the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the candy thermometer reaches the soft-ball stage, 235º 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. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Using a spatula sprayed with non-stick spray or wrapping a piece of plastic wrap around your hand, evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Allow the layer to cool to room temperature.
In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the chocolate and peanut butter. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Using an rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to stir to cool the mixture slightly, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least one hour or until the top layer hardens.
In another large heat-proof bowl, combine the dark chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Using a rubber spatula, stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to stir to cool the mixture slightly, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over the chilled peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer using an off-set spatula. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least one hour or until the chocolate layer hardens.
Using the parchment overhang, carefully lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve chilled. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
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