No Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cereal Bars

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These, my friends, are a classic. Growing up, no Christmas Eve party, or visit to Grandma’s, was complete without a heaping plate piled with dozens of these bad boys. In my family, we call them Nana Bars, after my great-grandma. They’re chewy, peanut-buttery base is slathered with a rich chocolate-butterscotch layer that keeps you coming back for more (and more!). Make ’em once, and soon you’ll find yourself making them at every possible occasion. πŸ˜‰

Like I said, they’re a classic! 

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The real reason I made these was because my younger sister wanted to bring them to school as her birthday treat (happy birthday, Annie!) , but I made a couple extra as a little treat to myself for getting through finals week. 

It was a lo-o-o-o-ng week, but I now have absolutely no homework, so I guess it’s kind of nice. πŸ™‚

 It is because of this fact (and a four-day-long weekend!) that I am able to bring this blog post to you, folks. Thank the school system that puts finals after (?) Christmas break. 

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One of the (many!) things I love about these bars is the little twists hidden in the simplicity of them. The main flavors are chocolate and peanut butter, but underneath that you’ve got a swirl of butterscotch and the syrupy shift the peanut butter has thanks to the Karo syrup. When you bite into one, the chocolate layer is smooth and creamy, and the rice crispie part is crunchy and chewy and all things delicious! All of the flavors and textures meld together into a bite size square that arranges just so nicely on a plate. Perfect for a party! 

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As the name says, they’re no-bake (you won’t need your oven), adding to their simplistic charm even more–although me, being me, managed to make them as complicated as I could (I may have set an oven mitt on fire. Shhhh). But seriously, you can make a pretty good sized batch in less than an hour with only 6 ingredients, a microwave, and a fridge. I’d call that impressive, no? πŸ˜€

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You’ll start with a cup of light-colored Karo syrup and a cup of granulated sugar. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but these are kind of a dentist’s worst nightmare–they’re exquisitely cavity-inducing. Cut ’em small, and you’ll be fine, right? Everything in moderation!

Anywhoo, mix those two together in a large bowl and microwave them until they’re melted together. You’ll then stir in a cup of peanut butter until it’s all melted together in a sugary concoction of deliciousness. It smells (and tastes) like the inside of a Reese’s peanut butter cup…

Go ahead. 

Try it. Lick the spoon or something (but please don’t put it back in!). 

No judgment here! πŸ˜‰ 

In a v-e-r-y large bowl, you’ll measure out 5 cups of plain rice crispies, and mix in the peanut butter mixture until all of the cereal is evenly coated. After that, press the rice crispies into a parchment-paper lined 9″x13″ dish. It should look a lil’ something like this. 

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The rice crispies on the edges might be a little crumblier than the ones more towards the center of the dish, but that’s all right. The chocolate layer on top will smooth out those rough edges!

The above-said chocolate layer is so simple that I managed to catch an oven mitt on fire while making it. To make it, you literally need to take a bag of butterscotch chips and a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and melt them together in the microwave. Bibbidy-bobbidy-done

Instead of using the microwave, the little voice inside me that thinks its a culinary expert of some sort made the decision to melt them over the stove top, y’know, using a glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water? Uh-huh. In trying to hold the hot glass bowl still with an oven mitt so I could stir, the oven mitt got tangled up in the fire and…well…

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Long story short, just use the microwave. Your poor oven mitts will thank you!

After you’ve got your butterscotch-chocolate mixture evenly stirred together, you’ll pour the chocolate over the rice crispies and smooth it over with a rubber spatula until all of the cereal is coated in a thick, glossy layer. 

Voila.

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Be still my beating heart. ❀

Then you’ll take this bad boy and pop it in the fridge for, oh, half an hour or so, until the chocolate layer is set. Watch an episode of Criminal Minds, get some laundry done, maybe finish up that English project you’ve had over a month to do–or do all three, like me! πŸ˜€

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Once they’re chilled and set, you can slice them into 1″x 1″ squares, so cute and perfectly bite-sized that they’re (almost!) guilt-free. πŸ™‚

Alright, not really, but a girl can dream, right? 

Shall we get into it? 

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Special thanks to my grandma for giving me the recipeβ€”they’re such a classic in my family, and I’m glad I can make them whenever I want now! Love you, Grandma!

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