Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No Fail Peanut Butter Magic Bars

by Guest Blogger Ashley Fruno

In addition to the fact that I can’t cook, I also never measure anything. Ever. In all likelihood this is probably why I can’t cook…..but these bars are magic for two reasons 1) no matter how much of each ingredient you use, they always taste great, and 2) no one ever gets tired of them. Since I can’t successfully cook or bake anything else, I have brought these bars to every single potluck, farewell party, birthday, bake sale, and office lunch I have attended in the last five years. I also frequently give them as gifts. They’re always met with rave reviews. I’ll let you in on the secret:

Brown sugar, raw is best – about 1 cup
Some sort of syrup – about 1 cup (these all work well: agave, corn syrup, maple syrup)
Peanut butter, best if unsweetened – about 2 cups (doesn’t matter, chunky or smooth)
Some sort of crispy cereal – maybe 3-4 cups? (corn flakes, rice puffs, whatever is vegan)
Dark chocolate – lots
Soy milk – just a touch 

  • Heat sugar and syrup over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture boils slightly. Be careful not to burn it!! The “no fail” part of the title doesn’t apply to burning.
  • Turn heat off. Mix in peanut butter until melted and combined. Taste. Too sweet? Add some more.
  • Is your cereal big or small? Essentially anything other than rice puffs needs to be crushed a bit. Take a hammer to your bag of corn flakes (only a few whacks) and you’re set.
  • Fold cereal into peanut butter mixture. Once combined, spoon mixture into a pan or plastic container. No need to oil the pan – these babies are fat-laden. They’ll slide right out. Press mixture into pan to form a flat top.
  • Melt chocolate in pan (I always use the dirty one from the peanut butter mixture – no one has ever complained) over low heat. Add a small splash of soy milk to make the chocolate easier to cut once the bars have set.
  • Pour melted chocolate over bars to evenly coat top. Put in the refrigerator until solid. These are best kept cold until ready to serve so they don’t get too gooey.
  • When ready to slice, run knife around the edges of pan or container. Flip pan upside down on cutting board. Voila!

For best gift results: buy disposable plastic containers. Use the container both for forming the bars and gifting them! Let the recipient worry about slicing them up.

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