Peanut Chewy Payday Bars
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Cook time: 
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Serves: One 8-by-8 inch pan, 9 generous squares
A three-layered bar full of that resembles a Payday candy bar, but better - thanks to the gooey marshmallows that are sandwiched in the middle layer. The melted marshmallows are flanked by a buttery shortbread-style crust and topped with a mixture of peanut butter, peanuts, and crispy rice cereal. Sweet and gooey meets salty and crunchy with an abundance of peanut butter, peanuts, and plenty of chewy texture. Although there are three layers, the bars can be made from start to finish in a half hour, and can be kept both vegan and gluten-free.
  • For the Crust
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (three-quarters of one stick)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • For the Filling
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • For the Topping
  • 1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup light corn syrup (light in color rather than dark)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (4 tablespoons, half of one stick)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups peanuts (I use Oh Nuts Roasted Salted Peanuts, honey roasted or similar may be substituted)
  • 1½ cups Rice Krispies cereal (or vegan and gluten-free cereal)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang (you must line your pan), spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. For the Crust - In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Keep working the butter into the flour and brown sugar and transfer the sandy and crumbly mixture into the prepared pan. Press mixture down firmly with fingertips, and then pack it down with the bottom of a drinking glass or back of a spoon. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or just until crust has set and pale in color; don't worry if it's a bit underbaked as pan will be going back into the oven in the next step.
  3. For the Filling - Evenly sprinkle the marshmallows over the crust and bake for about 5 minutes or until they have begun to melt and before they start browning (we aren't making s'mores); set pan aside.
  4. For the Topping- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute; stir to combine. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the peanuts and cereal and stir to combine. Pour mixture over the marshmallows, smoothing it lightly with a spatula to create an even flat layer. Set pan aside to cool for at least 4 hours before slicing, or overnight; refrigerating the bars can be used to expedite the cooling process. Slice bars by lifting them out using the foil overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  5. Recipe may be kept vegan by replacing the butter with margarine or Earth Balance, by using vegan marshmallows, and using a vegan cereal.Recipe may be kept gluten-free by using a gluten free flour blend for the crust and and using gluten free cereal of your choice. Take care all ingredients used are suitable for your dietary needs.
Recipe by Averie Cooks at