August 29, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars are a layered candy featuring a crispy chocolate base, a stripe of peanut butter fudge, a layer of chocolate-peanut fudge, and a smooth chocolate icing on top. The contrasts in taste and texture between the crispy chocolate and the smooth peanut butter fudge ensure that these small squares deliver big flavor.

This fudge has a lot of layers and a lot of steps, but they’re all fairly basic, so don’t be intimidated--it is easier and faster than it appears.
Ingredients:

* 1 cup chocolate chips, divided use
* 1/2 tbsp plus 1 stick (4 oz) butter, divided use
* 1 cup crisped rice cereal
* 1 cup crunchy peanut butter, divided use
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 1.25 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:

1. Prepare a 9x5 loaf pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place ¼ cup of chocolate chips and ½ tablespoon of butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir in ½ cup of crunchy peanut butter, and once incorporated, add the crisped rice cereal and stir until well-combined. Scrape this mixture into the prepared pan and press it in an even layer. Refrigerate to set the crust while you prepare the next layer.

3. Place 1 stick (4 oz) of butter and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter, and then stir in the remaining ½ cup of crunchy peanut butter. Stir until completely incorporated and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Pour half of the peanut butter fudge mixture on top of the bottom layer in the pan, and spread evenly. Reserve the other half, and place the pan back in the refrigerator to set.

4. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt ¼ cup of chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate into the remaining peanut butter fudge in the saucepan, and stir until well-combined. Spread the chocolate peanut butter fudge over the peanut butter fudge in the pan and smooth it into an even layer.

5. Place ½ cup of chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Pour the melted chocolate on top of the fudge layer and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate to set the bars completely, about 1 hour.

6. Once set, remove the bars from the pan using the foil as handles. Cut the bars into small squares to serve. Store Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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