I'm just gonna say it: Counting calories during the holidays is an evil and unnecessary chore. People during this festive time of the year are supposed to relax and enjoy. Save the shame of consuming the following recipe for January 2nd when the rest of the world Googles HCG diet and re-joins their local gym.
Call me mean, but that's why I'm going to share this incredible dessert with you. If there's ever a time to treat yourself and your loved ones to something truly epic in the "your chocolate is in my peanut butter" universe, now is the time. Get ready to loosen your belts...behold the Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bar.
The first time I encountered one of these indulgences, I wanted to punch the girl who made them. Not because I didn't like her (she's an ol' friend, no worries), but because I truly thought I had something called willpower and her little tray of highly caloric heaven broken that wall down real fast. Now for the recipe (adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking).
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 good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
For the chocolate layer
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), 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 large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan 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 large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.
Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.
Cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.