It was never my intention to develop a recipe for chocolate pb krispie O’Henry bars. Baked, the first bakery that I ever worked at (and the only one . . . ) has an absolutely spectacular version (though they don’t call it and “O’Henry bar”) and although I have been known to tinker with a good thing (as ended up being the case here), I would never actively set out to do so. Instead, in this instance, I merely wanted to tweak and fiddle with my mother-in-law’s recipe for O’Henry Bars — an oatmeal-based bar with a peanut butter chocolate topping that my husband snacked on incessantly growing up. But when I began researching Oh Henry Bars to investigate how my mother-in-law’s recipe might differ from those of others, I realized rather quickly that there are actually two kinds of said bars: the oatmeal-based one and the chocolate pb krispie o’henry bar.
And being a Rice Krispies Treat fanatic (very low-brow of me, yes), I knew I had to take a stab at the crispy rice cereal version. (Full disclosure: all research was web-based — my books are sadly lacking in the Oh Henry Bar department, which —duh — is what motivated me to develop a recipe for them in the first place). Now, although my perusal of the web led me to several different recipes for O’Henry Bars with crispy rice cereal, really, they were all just versions of the scotcheroos from RiceKrispies.com.
And because I am not afraid to borrow techniques, ingredients, etc. from the website of a national brand of breakfast cereal (I’m not kidding about this lowbrow thing), I was all-over the particular method used to make the Rice Krispies Treat part of the scotcheroo: Rather than use melted marshmallows and butter, like in a traditional Rice Krispie Treat, or bring water, sugar and corn syrup to the softball stage, as is done in the Baked recipe, in the scotcheroo recipe, you merely boil sugar and corn syrup together, briefly, to basically the same effect, but in a quarter of the time (i.e., you create an absolutely dreamy, perfectly sweet, chewy, yet crispy Rice Krispie Treat in minutes — and boy, do I love a shortcut). Truth be told, I had an inkling that a shortcut existed, for when Smitten Kitchen posted the Baked recipe for peanut butter crispy bars, someone commented on the fact that bringing the sugar syrup to softball was unnecessary, in light of the scotcheroo technique. But I digress . . .
Long story short, this recipe is beyond simple and beyond delicious. Although the technique for making my O’Henry Bars owes its provenance to the scotcheroo (I love writing “scotcheroo”), that’s all it owes. To the “treat” part of the bar, I added butter, as is done in the Baked recipe, and vanilla and salt, two of my faves for amping up the salty peanut butter-y-ness of it all. For the topping, I decided on a milk chocolate peanut butter ganache with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt — and not because I thought ganache and fancy salt would elevate my treat from its humble cereal box-website roots (like I said, I’ve no shame) but because it’s yummy. And I’m certain you will find it so, too.
Chocolate PB Krispie O’Henry Bars
- For the peanut butter Rice Krispies treat base:
- 2/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter such as Skippy
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups Rice Krispie cereal or another puffed rice cereal
- For the milk chocolate peanut butter ganache topping:
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
- To make the base, grease an 8x8x2-inch pan with cooking spray or softened butter and line with a sheet of parchment paper that extends over two sides of the pan.
- In a large saucepan, over medium high heat, combine the sugar and corn syrup and cook just until the sugar melts and the mixture begins bubbling in the center, stirring periodically with a flexible spatula. Once bubbling, remove from the heat and stir in the melted butter, peanut butter, salt and vanilla.
- Stir in the Rice Krispies and once evenly coated, transfer to the prepared pan. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the pan and press down lightly on the cereal mixture to evenly flatten.
- To make the topping, combine all of the ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 50 second bursts, stirring after each until melted and smooth (in my microwave the chocolate is melted in one burst). Alternatively, you can do this on the stovetop over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the topping over the bars and using a small offset spatula or butter knife, spread to evenly coat. Chill in the refrigerator until set, about an hour, and serve cold or at room temp.
- Bars will keep up to a week in the fridge covered in an airtight container.