Food pairings don’t get much better than peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe was one of four I developed for a story I wrote celebrating cookie, granola and other types of bars perfect for picnics, school lunches, potlucks and office parties.
The recipe received a lot of wonderful responses from readers, and it’s a favorite of mine for a number of reasons. First, there’s no baking involved, which makes this a great treat to make on hot summer days. Second, it’s simple — the bars use only a handful of ingredients. Additionally, it’s kid-friendly, if you’re looking for recipes to get the little ones involved in the kitchen. Most of all? The bars are delicious and fun, and I’m always asked for the recipe when I bring them to a gathering or function.
QUICK TIP: When making the bars, be sure to crush the crisped rice cereal to a coarse meal — if the cereal isn’t ground properly, the bars won’t hold together well.
NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER BARS
30 minutes, plus chilling times. Makes 16 to 20 bars
1 (12-ounce) jar plus 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 (12-ounce) box crisped rice cereal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/2 to 1 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 12 ounces peanut butter and the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Crush the crisped rice cereal to a coarse meal: Pulse the cereal in batches using a food processor, or place the cereal in a large sealable plastic bag and crush using a rolling pin.
Add the cereal to the peanut butter mixture and beat to combine. Press the mixture into a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Chill until firm.
Place 2 cups chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup or dish and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until melted and smooth. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup peanut butter until fully combined and smooth. Spread the melted chocolate mixture over the peanut butter bars. Sprinkle over the peanuts. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips, then drizzle the melted chocolate over the peanuts. Chill until the chocolate is firm, then cut into bars.
Note: From Noelle Carter. Adapted from a recipe I created while at the Los Angeles Times.