Nomnoms! Peanut Butter & Chocolate Rice Krispie® Treats

This post was supposed to go live several hours ago, but today ended up being full of all sorts of excitement. First there was the historic, downright mind-boggling success of the Philae lander touching down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Such precision at such an immense distance and after over 10 years hurling through the vacuum of space is truly a momentous accomplishment. Just seeing the reactions of the scientists and researchers will guaranteedly bring a smile to your face. A toast and a tip of the hat to all those involved in the Rosetta mission!
In the wake of that, it was almost too easy to miss the announcement that registration for PAX East 2015 had opened. While it hasn't been officially confirmed, the word on the on the Twitter is that 3-day badges sold out in about 7 minutes and, as of the time this was written, Saturday badges are gone as well. The GIR and I managed to snag badges for Friday and Saturday, so we'll once again be bringing you coverage live from the floor of the BCEC.

Whew. After all that perhaps a little treat is in order. Fortunately, the recipe below is high on the yummy indulgence scale and low on the effort necessary to bring about said tasty noms. It's a bit of a twist on the classic dessert (primarily for those of us who are addicted to the combination of chocolate and peanut butter). It's fast and the results are highly transportable, so these can make for a perfect game night snack or addition to any forthcoming holiday get togethers.
Difficulty: Easy
Availability of Ingredients: Common
Gadgetry: None
Feeds: 8-16 nerds
Time Till Noms: About 15 minutes of active ‘cooking’, then about 2 hours to allow the treats to cool and harden.
Required Equipment: a large glass or ceramic serving dish, measuring cups, a wooden spoon, a medium-to-large saucepan, another medium saucepan and a medium glass bowl or smaller saucepan that can fit inside the medium one.  
Optional Equipment: a double boiler/bain-marie

4 ½ cups of crispy rice cereal (or the cocoa version if you wanted to double up on the chocolate)
¾ cups of minute rolled oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 package of chocolate chips (10 ounces)
1 cup of peanut butter chips (may be substituted for butterscotch or additional chocolate chips)
Cooking spray

Step 1: Measure out all the quantities of dry ingredients and set them within easy reach of your stove. Doing this can make this recipe exponentially easier to pull off, as there’s a brief, finite window in which to combine the ingredients and shape the treats towards the end. Use your wooden spoon to ensure that the oats are as evenly distributed throughout the Krispies® as possible. Spray both the bottom and the sides of your serving dish with cooking spray.

Step 2**: Add the granulated sugar to your saucepan, then spray your measuring cup with cooking spray. Once the cup has been coated, measure out your corn syrup and add it to the sugar. Spraying your measuring cup makes pouring the syrup much simpler. 

Step 3: Turn your burner up to a medium heat and stir the syrup/sugar mixture frequently with your metal spoon as it warms up. Once the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to slowly bubble remove it from your heat source and stir in your peanut butter. Keep stirring until all three ingredients are well blended and you have a uniform mixture.
Step 4: Add your cereal to the sugary peanut butter concoction and keep on stirring until the former is entirely incorporated into the latter. Once everything’s all mixed pour it into your serving dish, using your mixing implement to spread it evenly throughout the pan.
Step 5: Fill your medium saucepan about halfway up with water; place the smaller saucepan/glass bowl so it floats on top of the water, then add your chocolate pieces. As the water warms up, stir the chocolate until you have a smooth, semi-liquid consistency. Pour the chocolate so it forms a layer on top of the cereal mixture. Once the chocolate has been poured, then the whole shebang sit at room temperature for about 2 hours and you'll have yourself some treats!
**Doing Steps 2-5 as written above will result in treats that are topped with chocolate. A fun variation is to melt the chocolate (Step 5) first, then do steps 2 and 3. Once you get to Step 4, pour out half the cereal mix into the serving dish, add a layer of melted chocolate, then add the other half of the cereal mix on top. Having the chocolate in the middle is a great way to vary textures and flavors, especially if you are making thicker treats.


I'm allergic to/otherwise can't eat rice. Can I make these with another cereal?
Sure thing. The cereal here is more for texture, with the chocolate and peanut butter doing the heavy lifting in terms of flavor. Any puffy cereal will work here, just make sure it's not highly sweetened.

I see that you used smooth peanut butter here. Can I sub in a chunky or crunchy variety?
Definitely. I used the smooth type just because that's what we had in the house. There's no reason why you couldn't use a different type.

Can I use natural peanut butter ?
Yes. This recipe doesn't have the same structural dependencies as the chocolate peanut butter eggs or  the peanut butter frozen yogurt, so the liquidy texture that you'll usually see in natural peanut butters is actually a boon. Since we have to melt the butter down, using a less solid base can actually cut down on your "cook" time.

What about almond/cashew/other type of nut butter? Are those ok to use?
Yep. Feel free to use any of those or, if you're feeling particularly fancy, maybe experiment with making custom blends.

Are whole rolled oats ok to use?
Sort of, but not really. The oats have two functions in this recipe: provide some fiber and prevent the cereal portion of the treats from hardening into a barely-chewable brick. The more-refined texture of minute oats allows the grains to practically disappear into the treats, but still allows them to do both parts of their job. If you can only get your hands on whole oats, I'd recommend running them through a food processor for a few seconds or giving them a coarse chop with a broad knife.

Corn syrup is gross! Do I have to use it?
Well, you don't have to use it, but the results will change based upon what you use as a substitute. Agave syrup or even a light grade maple syrup might be ok to use, but either of those are actually going to be sweeter per ounce than the corn syrup. If you do use one of those, you may want to start out with less granulated sugar to preserve the flavor balance in the end product.

As always, best of luck to you with your kitchen experimentations!

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