One of the easiest sweet treats to make is a rice krispy treat. The basic recipe has only three ingredients – marshmallows, rice krispies (or other puffed rice cereal) and butter – and takes only a couple of minutes to mix together. As a marshmallow fan, I like them plain, but as a fan of easy to make treats, I appreciate how versatile these bars are. You can make them chocolate-flavored or dip them in chocolate, you can use other types of cereal in place of the plain rice cereal, and you can even use the bars as a base for a no-bake candy bar, as I did with this batch.
These rice krispies are topped with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of chocolate, giving them a rich peanut butter cup flavor that is a great contrast for the sweet, crunchy base. The peanut butter (I used a natural pb, but a national brand will work well here, too) layer is very slightly crumbly, much more similar to the interior of a peanut butter cup than to a layer of unadulterated peanut butter. The topping is a chocolate ganache, made with semisweet chocolate and butter.
The only time consuming piece of this snack is that you need to let the layers set up one by one. Even so, you can probably get it done start to finish in an hour – and the hands-on time is probably about 5-10 minutes. They’re a great treat to make with kids and are probably just as likely to be a hit with (adult) coworkers if there are any leftover to be taken into the office.
Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispie Bars
2 tbsp butter
5-oz marshmallows (1/2 large bag)
3 cups rice krispies/puffed rice cereal
Peanut Butter Filling
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (natural or regular)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp milk
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup semisweet/dark chocolate chips
Lightly grease a 9×9-inch pan.
In a large, microwave safe bowl, combine butter and marshmallows. Heat until butter is melted and marshmallows are soft. Stir to combine. Fold in rice cereal with a spatula, then pour mixture into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Allow to cool and set at room temperature.
For the peanut butter layer, combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. The consistency should be like frosting. If it is too crumbly (consistency may vary slightly by type of peanut butter used), add an additional tablespoon or two of milk until filling is spreadable. Spread onto cereal layer.
For the chocolate topping, melt chocolate chips and butter in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Stir until smooth. Pour over peanut butter layer and, using an offset spatula or regular spatula, spread chocolate to cover entire surface. Let chocolate set up at room temperature before slicing.
Makes 20 rectangular candy bars.