Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars

I volunteered to make dessert for our New Year’s Eve gathering with friends this year. We weren’t having a sit down meal, instead it was super casual with lots of finger food/appetizer-type options. There were only 4 of us, and based on previous years, I knew we’d be so full from the savory stuff that there was a decent chance no one would be up for dessert. I wanted to make a sweet treat just in case, though, so with that in mind, I set out to find something quick and easy I could put together that would be just as good on January 1st, 2nd, or 3rd as it was on December 31st.

Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars

Enter these insanely decadent bars – a s’mores-inspired variation on Rice Krispie Treats. They’re practically no-bake, so they definitely fit into both the quick and easy categories, and they’re also good keepers. Several days after I made them, neither the flavor nor the texture had suffered one bit.

So, want to know what the bars are comprised of? There’s a graham cracker base, which is topped with gooey marshmallows and sweet mini peanut butter cups, and finally a rich, crispy, candy bar-like layer that includes melted chocolate, peanut butter and Rice Krispies. I don’t know how you could possibly pack any more goodness into one treat! These s’mores bars are completely addictive, so if you’ve resolved to eat fewer sweets in 2012, don’t say I didn’t warn you :)

Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars

Peanut Butter Crunch S’mores Bars
adapted from Rice Krispies (via Bakergirl)

5 whole graham crackers (about 5 x 2 1/2 inch rectangles)
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1/3 cup mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray an 8×8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out.

Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer to cover the bottom of the pan – you may need to break the graham crackers into smaller pieces to fill in gaps.

Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores Bars

Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over the graham crackers. Bake for about 7 minutes, or until the marshmallows are very puffy. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Add the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter to a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second bursts on 50% power, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir the peanut butter into the chocolate mixture then fold in the Rice Krispies until all of the ingredients are combined.

Sprinkle the mini peanut butter cups evenly over the marshmallows then press the Rice Krispies mixture into an even layer on top. Cover and refrigerate the bars for about 1 hour, or until firm. Use the parchment overhang to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (I liked these best at room temperature so I took mine out of the fridge in advance of eating them.)