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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Anybody Want a Peanut? Bars

Essentially a homemade candy bar, this treat is called a Goody Goody Bar by Cook's Country Magazine. I made it for Betsy during the overdue days of her last pregnancy as a comfort for us both. At the time, Betsy's family was enjoying references and quotes from the movie Princess Bride. So we renamed the bar in its honor.

When I was in my late teens my mother came across a recipe for "Special K Treats" which, with their peanut butter flavor, gave some variation to the "Rice Krispie Treats" our family ate from time to time. In my high school and college years I must have made Special K Treats a thousand times, so when I found the recipe that follows, I knew it had an ancestor in common with my family's quick snack.


Anybody Want a Peanut? Bars

This recipe uses brown sugar for extra flavor and chopped peanuts, too, which also add crunchy texture. I decided to try a cereal flake made of whole grains (I used something called Flax Plus which ingredient list included whole wheat flour, the bran of several grains, etc.) rather than the cornflakes and found I liked them and it helped relieve my ambivalence about all the sugar in this recipe. I've topped the bars with semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate and prefer the bittersweet variety (I used Guittard brand) although it had less viscosity. I also tried some with coarse salt sprinkled on top (so much for my concerns about "healthiness").

Adapted from Cook's Country Magazine
Makes a 9X13 pan

1 c light brown sugar
1 c light corn syrup
1 c peanut butter (I have used regular peanut butter and "natural" and both work)
1 c coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts
6 c corn flakes (or you can substitute flake cereals that contain more grains)
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1 1/8-1 1/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Butter a 9X13 baking dish. In a large saucepan, cook the sugar and corn syrup until simmering and the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Don't let this simmer for long because the temperature will rise and the sugars will start to become harder candy (definitely not what you want in a "chewy" bar). Remove from heat; add the peanut butter and the peanuts, stirring until fully incorporated. It will still be lumpy because of the peanuts. Stir in the cereal flakes and stir until well mixed in. Without delay, scoop mixture into the baking dish and spread out using a rubber spatula to compress making sure you press well into the corners. Smooth the top somewhat.

Melt the chocolate by microwaving in a small bowl for 30-50 seconds, stirring to smooth. Don't allow it to microwave too long. The chips can look unmelted but are so hot that stirring will quickly turn it into a sauce. Spread melted chocolate on the top of the bars and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to set up.

These are best eaten in a couple of days--they begin to harden and the chocolate starts to bloom if they sit around a long time.

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