Chocolate Peanut Butter Kit Kat Crunch Bars
These may be the best no-bake bar I’ve ever made. And I’m the queen of bars, so that’s quite a statement.
They’re like a homemade peanut buttery Crunch Bar topped with Kit Kats, and they’re worth every empty calorie.
And I’ve done it in more combinations and permutations than should be legal.
So when I can get excited about a new bar, given all the dozens (hundreds) that have come before it, I do a little happy dance. These bars are the new top dog to beat in no-bake cereal bar adventures.
They’re vegan and gluten-free up until they’re topped with Kit Kats. If you top them with peanut butter cups instead, they’re vegan and gluten-free since since Kit Kats are the only thing that’s not vegan/GF in the recipe. Simple swap.
Ironically, there’s no butter or buttery spreads used in these very buttery and rich bars.
They’re fast and easy to make, with less than 15 minutes of active work.
They combine two favorite recipes. The base is a duplication of Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Bars, which are adapted from my Grandma’s Special K Bar recipe. I love that recipe so much that I included it in my cookbook.
The base is made by combining sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and peanut butter in the microwave to make a bastardized 2-minute caramel sauce. It serves as the glue to hold together Rice Krispies cereal that’s stirred in.
I’m a huge fan of any version of Rice Krispies Treats. These use peanut butter rather than marshmallows as the glue. Can’t go wrong either way.
They’re firm enough so they’re not a gooey mess, and the texture is chewy and dense, yet soft.
They have a pronounced pop of peanut butter flavor, with caramel and vanilla notes. The flavor is exceedingly buttery-tasting, despite no butter being used.
The top layer is an adaptation of the topping of Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispies Smores Bars. I don’t know why I haven’t repurposed the topping until now, but I’m so glad I did.
It’s chocolaty with just a hint of peanut butter, and has the most amazing texture after it sets up. Dense, firm, crispy and crunchy, and reminds me of a Nestle Crunch bar, with a little more airiness and less snap.
It’s made by melting chocolate chips with a little peanut butter, and just enough cereal is stirred in to soak up some of the melted, saucy mixture.
Last but not least, I chopped Kit Kats for the top.
When I pushed them down onto the still warm chocolate layer, they melted just enough to become embedded.
I’ve always loved the flaky,crunchy layers of Kit Kats and they paired perfectly with the crunchy-yet-softened cereal in both the base and topping layers. Their sweeter milk chocolate complemented the semi-sweet chocolate in the topping.
They’re definitely the new bar to beat.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Kit Kat Crunch Bars
A soft, yet very chewy, rich, dense, peanut buttery base is topped with a crunchy chocolate topping that reminds me of a Nestle Crunch bar. There's Kit Kat candy bar pieces embedded, for extra crunch, texture, and flavor. Despite tasting extra buttery, there's no butter used. If you swap out the Kit Kats for peanut butter cups, the bars are vegan and gluten-free (since the Kit Kats are the only thing that's not vegan/GF in the recipe). If you need a fast and easy dessert that's sure to be a huge hit, I highly recommend these. They keep extremely well and can be made in advance, but I know leftovers will not linger. Quite possibly my favorite cereal bar of all time.
Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 to 12 squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes, microwave
Total Time: 2+ hours, for chilling
1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter (use Jif, Skippy, or similar; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter)
1/2 cup light corn syrup (light-colored, not lite)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal (or similar crispy rice cereal that's vegan/GF, if necessary)
1 heaping cup diced Kit Kat pieces (I used three 1.50-ounce bars, diced)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (use Jif, Skippy, or similar; do not use natural or homemade peanut butter)
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal (or similar crispy rice cereal that's vegan/GF, if necessary)
- Base - Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, corn syrup, sugars, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Stir in 3 cups cereal.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down somewhat firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top; set pan aside.
- Chocolate Topping - Dice the Kit Kats; set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Chips may not be completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat in 15-second bursts until chocolate can be stirred smooth, 15 seconds is likely all they'll need.
- Stir in 1 cup cereal.
- Pour chocolate mixture over base, packing it down somewhat firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top.
- Place the Kit Kats in about 10 evenly and tightly spaced rows over the surface, with about 1/4-inch space between each piece (does not have to be perfect). By the time you get all the pieces on and in rows, the pieces you placed on first will likely have started to melt at the base. Push them down lightly so they embed into the chocolate-crispy layer. Go back over and push on all the pieces with your finger to ensure they're all embedded and will stick as the bars cool and set up.
- Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until chocolate layer is completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Bars (vegan, GF)
Biscoff Marshmallow Chocolate Bars (no-bake)
Special K Bars (no-bake)
Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars (almost no-bake)
Peanut Chewy Payday Bars (almost no-bake)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats (GF) – The best RKTs I have ever had. Double the butter and it’s browned, for great flavor and soft, buttery, chewy bars
This post is being linked to Roxana’s Chocolate Party!
Fan of Kit Kats? Chocolate and peanut butter? Favorite no-bake bar?