Sunday, January 25, 2015

Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars

Today I taught a three-year old how to temper chocolate.  I am sure that he does not remember a single step, but he does remember licking the chocolate off the spoon when we were finished and eating (too many) pieces of this delicious chocolate bar.

I could call this a 'square' but there is far too much chocolate in it for that name.  There are only four ingredients, it is not baked, it keeps for a long time, and it requires melted and tempered chocolate. And the best part? You can eat it within a half hour from the time you start making it. 

So let's get to it! Here is the recipe...

Recipe: Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars (Gluten-Free)

You need:
  • 227 grams (8 ounces) of chopped milk chocolate (I used organic and Fair Trade, but you can use any)
  • 100 grams (3.5 ounces or a little over a half cup) of smooth peanut butter (I used a natural peanut butter with no salt or other additives)
  • 2 cups of Rice Krispies (I used the Brown Rice, gluten-free kind)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • ice in a large bowl

1. Prepare your ingredients and tools: Set out your Rice Krispies in your 2-cup measuring cup, and pour your peanut butter into a microwavable bowl. Chop your chocolate and place in a stainless steel or glass bowl (use only glass or plastic if using the microwave, not a double boiler). Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and set aside.

2. Melt and temper your chocolate. Place your bowl of chocolate over a double boiler (1 inch of steaming water in a pot) and stir the chocolate until just melted. Heat slightly more until it reaches 115 degrees F. Then quickly reduce the temperature by placing it over a bowl of ice or ice water until it reaches about 84 degrees.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET EVEN A SINGLE DROP OF WATER IN THE CHOCOLATE. Use a paper towel to wipe the bottom of the bowl and your hands if necessary. Set aside on the counter. (For more thorough tempering instructions, click here).

If you prefer not to temper the chocolate over a double boiler or if you do not have a digital thermometer for candy/chocolate, you can microwave it on half power for 2 minutes and stir until smooth, but do not overheat.  If it won't melt completely, microwave for just 5 second intervals and stir just until smooth. Dip your baby finger in it.  If it feels like the same temperature as your baby finger, it is okay to use.  If it is warmer than your finger, stir it until smooth with the bowl resting on a bag of frozen peas, and ice pack or frozen fruit until it feels cool (careful not to let it harden though!).

3. Warm your peanut butter and add it to the chocolate. Pour your peanut butter into a heatproof bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds, just until it reaches 97 degrees F. Pour it into the tempered chocolate and stir.  Place the bowl over the ice bath and stir until the mixture cools, reaching just above room temperature (about 75-80 degrees F, but if it starts to harden move the next step immediately!).

4. Add the Rice Krispies and stir. Pour the Rice Krispies into the chocolate mixture and stir quickly.

5. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and then let it set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes until hard.

6. Remove from the refrigerator and cut into bars (about 30 grams or 1 ounces each). Place in an airtight container or cover each bar with plastic wrap and toss into your lunch bag for an afternoon pick-me-up!

Valentine's Day Tips:
  • You can also wrap these individually in treat bags (I purchased some at Bulk Barn and Michael's retailers) and tie them with red or pink ribbon for Valentine's Day Treats! Be sure to add a label to indicate that there are nuts in these bars, if you are sending them to people you don't know.
  • Instead of cutting this chocolate into bars, use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out hearts for Valentine's Day!