22 December, 2011

Tummy Love!

Every year at Christmas my family and I go through a baking frenzy like no other family I know.  Our baking traditions include a variety of bars.  When planning my cookie series I had a really tough time not including some of those bars in my bonus posts rather than just the candies.  I went back and forth on whether it was possible for me to make it through the Christmas season without some bars.  The indecisiveness has passed, I couldn't make it and you'll be glad I shared this recipe...I promise!  Chocolate, peanut butter...crisp rice cereal....you just can't go wrong with any of those ingredients.

(I'll take this opportunity to remind my readers again that you don't HAVE to use organic or vegan ingredients for these recipes.  ALL the recipes I make can be evenly exchanged for dairy butter, non organic sugars and chocolate chips with dairy.  My mom sometimes uses a milk chocolate/butterscotch chip mixture on the top...the possibilities with these recipes are endless!)

O'Henry Bars
1 c. organic creamy peanut butter
1 c. vegan buttery spread
1 c. organic light corn syrup
1 c. organic fair trade cane sugar
5-6 c. Erewhon organic brown rice cereal (gluten free, organic rice crispies)
2 pkgs. of Enjoy Life vegan mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 T. Earth's Balance vegan shortening
aluminum foil covered pan or glass cake pan
butter for hands or wax paper

Depending on how thick you like your bars depends on where you put these, but wherever they are going the pan needs to be prepared now.  If you like them thinner (about a half inch thick), cover a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set it aside.  If you like your bars thicker (about 1 inch) just grab yourself a large glass cake pan.  No need to cover the glass in foil.  Set your choice of pan aside for later.

Put 5 cups of crisp rice cereal in a large mixing bowl.

In a large non-reactive pot melt together peanut butter and vegan buttery spread.  When completely melted add corn syrup and sugar.  Bring to a boil; stir constantly with a METAL spoon and continue boiling until mixture hits soft ball stage (240 degrees on digital thermometer).  When it is ready, pour mixture over crisp rice cereal, do NOT scrape the pan for sauce.  Stir mixture into cereal until cereal is well coated.  If there seems to be extra "goop" add more cereal in half cup increments until there isn't enough "goop" to be taken out with a teaspoon.

Pour both bags of chocolate chips into a large glass bowl and microwave in 1 minute bursts until chips can be stirred.  Stir until all the chips lose their shape, add shortening, stir until shortening is completely melted.  Set aside.

Turn rice crispie mixture into pan of choice.  Spread out with greased hands or wax paper sheet, pressing firmly as you go.  Pour melted chocolate evenly over the pressed cereal and spread chocolate with a butter knife towards edges; covering cereal evenly.  Set aside to cool for 2 hours OR when the chocolate is no longer shiny and tacky to the touch.

These bars are out of this WORLD yummy and the recipe is quick and easy.  This takes me less than 15 minutes to make start to finish.  The only wait you have is for the chocolate to dry and sometimes lol...you don't "have" to wait...I didn't when I made them!  I wanted to try them right away.  It is almost impossible to screw this recipe up as well, so don't be afraid to try it.  Let me know if you enjoyed it.

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