Recipe from "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking," by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito; photographs by Tina Rupp. Stewart, Tabori & Chang publishers, www.abramsbooks.com. Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
For the crispy crust
1 cup crisped rice cereal
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
For the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons ( stick) unsalted butter
Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with non-stick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Pour cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (235 degrees). Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up on the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.
Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a large non-reactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.
Make the chocolate icing: In a large non-reactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread into an even layer. Put the pan in the refrigerator for a 1 hour or until the topping hardens. Cut into 9 squares. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days. Baked
Note: Recipe may be doubled or tripled for larger parties.
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