People, if you don’t already know, it’s a good thing you’re reading this: CEREAL IS NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST. You’re welcome. The pinnacle of cereal-based delights, Rice Krispie Treats, was certainly the first such phenomenon of this nature that I’d ever had as a child, and it’s always held a special place in my heart. And now I have a new breakfast-inspired muse: Good Morning Sunshine Bars from the Peanut Butter chapter of Baked Elements. (It’s the very first recipe in the book– couldn’t really go wrong from there…) I made these a couple of times last year to bring to events, and I must say that they were unusually difficult to share. (Not that I ever like to share my sweets, mind you, but I experienced an unexpectedly strong desire to guard them jealously.) It’s possible that I may have *accidentally* dropped a couple of squares on my kitchen floor so that they couldn’t be served….. I mean, uh, I would never do that on purpose– what?! *not making eye contact*
Anywho, Good Morning Sunshine Bars finally came up on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for this week, which made me squeal with glee. Yes, that’s right, I’m incredibly excited about bars comprised of Rice Chex cereal, peanuts, peanut butter, and dark brown sugar– drizzled with chocolate, of course! The marriage of these simple ingredients may not necessarily sound spectacular, but I assure you that these bars are pretty goddamn excellent, and it’s likely that you’ll find yourself daydreaming about them at inappropriate times. Or maybe that’s just me.
Since I had made them twice before, I wanted to do something a little different, and I’d had this “remix” idea in my head for quite a while. I’m more of a chocolate person than a peanut butter person, so naturally my brain gravitated towards the following oft-pondered quandary: “How can I add more chocolate??” I imagined flipping the chocolate and PB; instead of drizzling the chocolate on top, I would melt it into the peanut butter-caramel mixture to infuse the chocolate flavor more thoroughly (and I’d reduce the PB a bit), then drizzle the chocolaty Chex with a peanut butter glaze. I would also likely omit the chopped peanuts if I was feeling really wild and crazy. Yeeeessss, my plan was coming together swimmingly, except…. no time to play in the kitchen this week. *sniff*
So the remixed Good Morning Sunshine Bars still exist only in my imagination, sadly. But hey, if anyone feels like making these on my behalf, please let me know what adjustments you made to the recipe!
In the meantime, I’m still content to fantasize about the original recipe. Referring back to Rice Krispie Treats, remember that commercial from the ’80s (’90s?) where the mom is supposedly slaving away in the kitchen over the RKTs, but she’s actually reading a trashy romance novel, and then she flicks flour onto her face while carrying the platter of treats out to her kids to make it look like some sort of arduous baking ordeal? Good news– these bars are not much more difficult than those. After combining the Chex and chopped peanuts in a big bowl, you’ll make a luscious peanut butter-caramel by boiling dark brown sugar and corn syrup (yes, it’s a full cup… sometimes the ends justify the means), then adding peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Ohhhh, yes…
You will then pour this deliciousness over the Chex and peanuts waiting in that bowl, mix it up to combine everything evenly, and quickly press it into a parchment-lined pan.
Once it cools to room temperature, drizzle the bars with melted milk chocolate in a stripe or zig-zag pattern. I love how the chocolate drips and oozes into all the nooks and crannies of the PB-enrobed cereal! (The recipe makes a point of mentioning not to slather the bars completely with chocolate because it obscures the attractive Chex pattern– I heartily concur.) I would suggest tempering your chocolate if you have the time and patience, as the untempered drizzled chocolate takes quite a while to firm up. The first time I made them, the bars sat through some temperature changes, and I ended up with some nasty chocolate bloom on my bars (white streaks). The second time, I intended to temper my chocolate, but I ran out of time. Fortunately, the temperature was more stable that time, so the chocolate stayed semi-firm and didn’t bloom. Next time I would like to go through with the tempering process to see if it makes a difference.
Cut up the bars once they’ve set, and TRY to restrain yourself… If you’re anything like me, you can find a good reason to eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. Oh– or afternoon snack! Please help me– I have a problem.
Now, as usual, my mind wanders towards variations because I can’t leave well enough alone. (But really, these don’t need any modifications.) Besides my chocolate “remix” vision, one could add chocolate chips or pretzels to the dry ingredients and fold everything together. I *love* the sweet and salty combination of peanut butter and pretzels, so I will likely try this next time; or hell, why not add both chocolate and pretzels?! Now I seriously have a problem…
If you too would like to have this problem, head over to Baked Sunday Mornings for the Good Morning Sunshine Bars recipe– you’ll be glad you did. See how the other BSM bloggers liked these too… as if there’s any doubt.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2013.