Happy New Year! I say that, but I wish time could just freeze. So let's backtrack to Christmas, when things were much simpler..haha..no need to think about new years resolutions or the constant reminder that time just passes by way too quickly. I had the hardest time trying to decide what to bake for Christmas. Chocolate chip cookies would be safe, but I wanted to try something new and easy. I like challenges, but I needed to make something I could do beforehand without worrying about staling. I don't mean actual staling, but it kills me when I bake something that is perfect texturally the first day and then have it turn into something remotely different the next. If I could, I would probably bake all my Christmas day cookies, the day of, but seriously, getting out of the door to my Grandparents' is hectic enough without the baking! I wanted something that was also basically foolproof because it's nice to know a dessert you try for the first time will actually turn out, especially when it's for a huge group or people. I finally decided to make bars, but with the million of recipes out there, which one? A long time ago, I starred the Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars from Jaime at Good Eats 'n Sweets in my google reader. To make them even more foolproof, I replaced the chocolate cake layer with a graham cracker crust so I wouldn't even have to worry about a dry cake layer. Plus, everyone likes graham crackers and now I've turned these bars into sort of smores. It's a little easier to say smores than chocolate peanut butter and marshmallow bars anyway.
I can't believe I've never tried mixing peanut butter together with chocolate before because it was so unbelieveably delicious and addicting! Chipits are usually pretty grainy, but the addition of peanut butter gives the mixture a nice and creamy texture. The crunch from the rice krispies also gives it a nice contrast. You would think that something with chocolate and peanut butter would be popular, but it took a while before somebody except me was eating them. My family tends to think everything is too sweet or rich so I've been working hard to bake a chiffon cake. So far, they've all been flops, but I'm going to try Alton Brown's version next. Anyway, other than replacing the cake layer, I made a few changes to fit a 9x9 square pan.
Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Esther Shank, Taste of Home's Holiday Get-Together 2006
Original Recipe found here from Good Eats 'n Sweets
Recipe adapted by me
1 package of graham crackers (9 crackers)
6 tablespoons of butter melted
4 cups miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp butter
1.5 cups crisp rice cereal
1. In a food processor, process graham crackers into crumbs and add melted butter until well combined. Press mixture evenly into a 9x9 square pan lined with aluminum foil and bake at 325 for 10 minutes until it has set. Remove from oven
2. Turn the oven to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over graham cracker layer; return to oven until marshmallows have melted (this happens really quickly so don't take your eyes off the oven). If necessary, using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake. Cool.
3. For topping, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and well blended. Remove from heat; stir in cereal. Immediately spread over bars. Chill.
I tried cutting these bars before they were actually chilled and that did not work. It is important to ensure that they are properly chilled or else it will be very messy.
This is just some of the baking stuff I got this year. A large cookie scoop, the Williams Sonoma Goldtouch muffin tin, a Nordicware petit fours pan and some Chicago Metallic mini loaf pans!