Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars Are Calling Your Name!
My neighborhood grocery store folks know how our minds work. When you stand in line at the register, they have thoughtfully provided a stack of appealing, easy to grab treats, to tempt the hungry shopper. I must admit, I’ve gazed longingly at the peanut butter rice crispy bars with a thick layer of chocolate on top, looking all crunchy and seductive in their plastic wrappers. Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I didn’t come into the store wanting them, but now I do.
But I know, they have all kinds of ingredients I don’t want, and are topped with wimpy milk chocolate. I also know that making no-bake crispy treats is so easy to do, it seems silly to buy them.
So I picked up the ingredients instead!
You Don’t Need Marshmallows for Crispy Bars
If you grew up making rice crispy bars, you probably did it by melting a bag of marshmallows with some margarine, then stirring in some rice krispies. If you are trying to avoid refined foods, as I am, you don’t want any part of that scenario. But you can get a nice crispy bar without the refined sugar and gelatin, and even use brown rice cereal in place of white. A few toasted oats fill in between the rice, and give it a nice flavor. Throw in some peanut butter and it’s not just yummy, but has a little bit of protein as a bonus.
The Magic of Boiled Syrup Holds It Together
If you’re wondering what will glue all those tiny bits of rice together in the bar, we can thank rice syrup. There’s a transformation that occurs when you boil it. It only takes one minute, but don’t skip that step, or your bars will not set. Peanut butter thickens the coating, too.
Once you press them in the pan, they set up quickly. Make room in the refrigerator and chill them for a couple of hours, then spread melted chocolate over the top. There is a video clip of me doing this on my instagram page, so check that out, if only for the food pron of watching melted chocolate move across the screen.
Gluten Free, Vegan, and Nobody Will Care
Using gluten free oats makes these safe for your GF friends, and brown rice syrup is as vegan as it gets. Use organic brown sugar or palm sugar (the soft kind from a jar) to make sure you are keeping it vegan. This is one of those treats that your junk food-loving friends and omnivorous family will devour, without missing gluten or sugar. I promise.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Forever!
I just love peanut butter and chocolate together, here are a few more treats that feature the timeless combo:
Dark Chocolate is Health Food
Now that I have my bars, I’ll be wrapping up a few to keep in the refrigerator, to grab when I am on my way to teach a class or hit the gym. A little burst of energy, in the form of peanut butter and chocolate, always comes in handy.
Enjoy the bars!
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crispy Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 5 cups crisped brown rice cereal
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, organic or soft palm sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup vegan mini-chips or other dark chocolate
- chopped peanuts optional, for garnish
- Oil a 9x13 inch metal or glass baking pan with 2 inch sides. Reserve
- In a medium skillet over medium high heat, swirl the oats until they are fragrant and toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl so that they will not burn. Add the crispy rice and salt and stir to mix.
- In a small saucepan, combine the rice syrup and brown or palm sugar. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low bubble for one minute. Take off the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well.
- Scrape into the prepared pan and use wet hands to press evenly in the pan.
- Chill for at least 3 hours before removing from the pan. Get a cutting board, and use a metal spatula to go around the edge of the pan, loosening the bars. Place the cutting board on top of the pan and invert. The bars should drop out, tap the bottom of the pan if needed to get them to drop.Melt the chocolate and spread over the bars. If desired, you can sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
- Chill the pan until the chocolate is set.
- Slice into four even squares, then slice each of those into four bars. Store in an airtight wrapper or container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.