Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars
I haven’t had real, good old-fashioned smores that are made over a campfire in far too long.
Like about twenty years, give or take, but who’s counting.
The last time I roasted marshmallows over a campfire was when I was a Girl Scout.
I have memories of being too impatient to wait for the marshmallows to toast evenly and instead, I would intentionally dip my wooden stick, with splinter-filled marshmallows speared on it, directly into the flames. The marshmallows would ignite, char, and then I’d blow out the flaming charcoal black blobs of hot molten sugar, previously known as marshmallows.
Then I’d promptly smoosh the charred marshmallows in between stale graham crackers, courtesy of the Minnesota summer humidity.
Finally, I’d set a couple jagged-edge squares of chalky, tasteless Hershey’s’ milk chocolate on top of the charred marshmallows, top it with another stale graham cracker, and bite into the gooey, charry, chalky mess and proclaim it to be the best thing I ate all summer.
But these bars are better.
There are no charred marshmallows, no chalky chocolate, no standing outside while intermittently getting bitten to death by mosquitoes the size of golf balls, sleeping on hard ground, or standing over a campfire sweating profusely.
You can almost no-bake these up in your kitchen, very comfortably. The oven is only turned on for a few minutes to toast the marshmallows and melt the white chocolate chips.
And as a bonus, not only do you get the chocolate fix you’d get in regular smores, but the chocolate in these bars is mixed with peanut butter, and Cocoa Krispies are added.
These beat camping.
Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars (Almost No-Bake; with Vegan and Gluten Free options)
Makes 16 bars
5 or 6 full-size graham crackers
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 8 squares Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate), melted
1 cup peanut butter, melted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups Cocoa Rice Krispies Cereal (or regular Rice Krispies)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 8 by 8-inch or 9 by 9-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (Do not skip this step, do not use wax or parchment paper).
Line the pan with one flat layer of graham crackers. You will need to break the graham crackers to fill in odd-shaped places (or slice the graham crackers on a cutting board with a knife for ultra-precision). Sprinkle the marshmallows over the graham cracker layer and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, or until marshmallows have begun to puff up or are showing first signs of browning. Remove from the oven and sprinkle white chocolate chips over the top and bake for 2 minutes more and remove from the oven and allow pan to cool a bit.
Make the Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Layer by placing chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for 45 to 60 seconds, then removing and stirring. Microwave again for 30 more seconds, or until mixture has fully melted. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Add the vanilla extract and Cocoa Krispies and stir to coat. Pour this mixture over the top of the melted marshmallow and white chocolate chip layer.
Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least one hour to set up completely before slicing and serving. Store the bars in an airtight container on the countertop, or freeze for up to 3 months for longer-term storage, knowing that the crackers may not be as crunchy if frozen for long periods.
To keep vegan, use suitable crackers and krispy cereal, use vegan marshmallows, replace the butter with margarine or Earth Balance, use vegan white chocolate chips or omit them. To keep gluten-free, use gluten free Rice Krispies cereal, gluten free graham crackers. Make sure all ingredients used are suitable for your personal taste preferences, dietary needs, and read all labels.
One of the reasons I decided to make these smores bars is because I’m participating in Marshmallow Madness, a contest hosted by Quirk Books and Serious Eats to celebrate the release of Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever.
My job was to post a recipe using marshmallows.
They didn’t ask me to post anything with chocolate, white chocolate, or peanut butter, but I think marshmallows go best with those things.
The crunch from the graham cracker base, the gooey melted marshmallows and white chocolate chips sandwiched in the middle layer, and the crunchy peanut buttery and chocolate Cocoa Krispies on the top layer are a smorgasbord of textures, and I love that.
As an aside, I found this site and decided to write on the image above to make sure and tempt you with each (labeled) layer. If anyone knows of other free sites that are straightforward, easy to use, and very user-friendly, that allow you to add text to images and “write” on them, let me know. Picnik is closing, and I don’t store my images on Google, Picassa, or Flickr and as few uploading steps, the better.
If you need more marshmallows (and white chocolate) in your life, I recommend:
Deep Dish Double Chocolate Golden Grahams Smores Bars (Vegan & GF options)
Finally, one of my Favorite Recipes of 2011, which uses marshmallows and white chocolate (and chocolate chips and peanut butter and butter and sweetened condensed milk…)
Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars (GF with Vegan options)
Now go make some smores in the comfort of your kitchen.
No bug bites or stinky campfire hair required.
Do you like smores? Marshmallows?
When is the last time you made smores? Or something with marshmallows?
Winner of the $50 Spa Card Giveaway announced next post.
Have a great week!