Chocolate lovers! If you can melt chocolate, then you can master these chocolate crunch bars. Part cookie bar, part candy, these are EASY to make and CRAZY delicious.
These rice crispy treats are a great dessert recipe for non-bakers and beginners alike. Seven ingredients, no gluten, no baking. (Vanilla extract and salt not pictured.)
Make these dairy free and vegan using vegan butter, dairy free chocolate chips and agave instead of honey.
This recipe comes from The Mast Brother’s cookbook, Mast Brother’s Chocolate: A Family Cookbook. I have adapted the recipe slightly by adding my favorite flavor boosters: real vanilla extract and a pinch of kosher salt. Option: make these snap, crackle and pop with additional melted white or dark chocolate on top.
Use a quarter sheet pan (12 x 9 x 1) lined with parchment paper so you can lift the bars out of the pan and cut them easily. Here’s a link to the kind of sheet pan I like to use. If you don’t have a quarter sheet pan, use a 9 X 9 square pan or something similar.
Heat chocolate on very low heat on top of a double boiler. Do not let water boil!
Keeping water at low heat is the most important part of this simple recipe. The first time I made these bars, I heated the water over medium heat and burned the chocolate. Unfortunately, I had to throw the chocolate away and start over. So remember, go low and slow to melt the chocolate!
Place your flavor boosters next to the stove to add them quickly and efficiently to the melted chocolate mixture.
If the water gets too hot, take chocolate OFF THE HEAT, mix in peanut butter, honey, vanilla and salt. Stir well just until melted and then remove chocolate from the heat.
Using a sturdy rubber spatula, gently lift and fold over the cereal and chocolate until thoroughly combined.
Use the microwave or clean, dry double boiler to slowly melt white chocolate (or more dark chocolate). Stir until completely melted. Pour the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag, twist the top of the bag to close and snip a tiny bottom corner. Now you have a pastry bag to draw lines or decorations across the chocolate bars.
This recipe makes 24 bars. To cut even squares, start by cutting the whole pan in half, then half again. Now you have four large squares. Cut each square in half, then cut each half into three equal size bars.
The law of threes: I have learned that in decorating and food design, there is something pleasing about a grouping of three, such as three candles of different heights on the mantle.
Think of the law of three at dessert time too: offer a platter of dessert bars, such as these chocolate crunch bars with two other desserts, like dipped pretzels and strawberries. ( I added raspberries to the plates too for extra color, but you can just use three!)
Since you are already melting chocolate for the crunch bars, it’s easy to dip a few extra snacks and berries at the same time. Or just add wedges of fruit and extra berries for a no fuss trio.
Everyone likes variety. Offering three treats is both visually appealing and delicious. Use your dessert platter as a centerpiece too!
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Serves: 24 large or 48 small
- 1½ pounds dark or semi sweet chocolate, chopped (680 gms) (dairy free okay)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (113 gms) (vegan butter okay)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (60 gms)
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup (30 gms)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups puffed rice cereal (140 gms)
- *3/4 pound white chocolate, chopped (340 gms) (optional, for decoration)
- Spray a ¼ sheet pan (12 x 9 x 1 ") or 9 inch square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper to cover bottom and sides.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth over low heat in the top portion of a double boiler.
- Do not let the water boil.
- Add peanut butter, honey or agave, vanilla and salt and mix well.
- Take off the heat and mix in the puffed rice until well combined.
- Place chocolate mixture into baking pan.
- Use a rubber spatula to smooth mixture across the top and evenly into corners.
- Place uncovered directly into fridge for at least two hours or decorate (see below.)
- Optional: Melt white chocolate in microwave or stovetop according to package directions.
- Pour melted white chocolate into a zip top bag. Using scissors, make a tiny snip in one bottom corner of the bag to pipe the chocolate onto the chocolate bars in a zigzag or freeform fashion.
- Set pan, uncovered, in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. (Cover after white chocolate hardens.)
- Cut into 24 large squares or 48 small wedges or rectangles.
- Store in refrigerator, covered, for up to a week.
- Dip additional fruits such as strawberries or snacks like pretzels into melted chocolate and allow to harden in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 2 hours.
- Dipped fruits and pretzels are best eaten on the same day that they are made.
*Slightly adapted from Rick and Michael Mast,
Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook