Conjure up some morning cheer with these Sunshine Bars from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients. After all, cereal is part of a balanced breakfast, whether or not it's covered in peanuts and chocolate.
Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2012. Published by Stewart Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:makes 24 bars
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour, including cooling time
- 6 cups crunchy, plain cereal (Rice Chex or something similar works best)
- 1 1⁄4 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 6 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, chopped
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13- inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the pan on two sides. Butter the parchment.
Place the cereal and peanuts in a large bowl and use your hands to toss together until mixed well.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil for one full minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the mixture is combined.
Pour the sugar mixture over the cereal mixture and use a spoon or well-greased hands (be careful as the liquid may still be very hot) to toss until the cereal is completely coated with the sugar mixture. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan. Grease your hands and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, being careful not to crush the cereal. Allow the mixture to
cool to room temperature (if you wish to speed this process, you may place the entire pan in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes).
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler. Use a spoon or piping bag to decorate the tops of the bars in a stripe or zigzag pattern. Allow the chocolate to set.
Lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang, cut them into approximately 3-by-11⁄2-inch rectangles (i.e., candy bars).
The bars can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. If the weather is hot and humid, you might want to keep them in the refrigerator instead.