Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

My friends at General Mills supplied my other buddies at 37 Cooks with some cereal to play with, and of course I had to play along. We each got the new versions of Trix, Chocolate Cheerios, and Golden Grahams. Three cereals I'd never tasted before.

The new versions have all natural colors and flavors, which is a good thing.

After doing some taste tests, I decided to combine the Chocolate Cheerios and the Golden Grahams, and I decided I wanted to combine them in a s'mores-like item.

I fiddled around a bit and hit a home run with s'mores bars with just a little bit of peanut butter. The peanut flavor isn't super-strong, but it adds a savory note to the sweet marshmallow.

Then I started thinking about the toasted flavor you get from heating a regular s'mores over a fire.

The answer was simple. I added more marshmallows to the top of the bars and hit them with my culinary torch. Just like when you're toasted them over the fire, some of them toasted golden brown, and then there were a few that got a bit blackened. Perfect!

To guild the lily a little more, I melted some chocolate and drizzled it on top of the bars. Because more chocolate is always okay.

While these are certainly sweet, they're not crazy sweet. Which makes me happy

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
10 ounces marshmallows, plus more for garnish
Pinch of salt
3 cups Golden Grahams cereal
3 cups Chocolate Cheerios
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or butter it.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and peanut butter on medium heat. Add the salt, then add the marshmallows, and cook, stirring, just until the marshmallow melt.

Add the cereals and stir to coat all the cereal with the marshmallows.

Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking pan. Wet your hands with cool water and press the mixture down evenly into a pan. Re-wet your hands as needed to keep the marshmallow from sticking. You could also use a spatula, but hands are easier.

Cut one or two large marshmallows into small pieces. Or, if you have mini marshmallows, cut them in half. Arrange the marshmallow bits randomly on top of the bars.

Use a torch to soften the marshmallows, then use a spatula to spread and affix them to the top of the bars. If you have gaps in the bars, you can tuck marshmallow in there. Use the torch again to toast the marshmallows.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe measuring cup, heating in 30-second increments and stirring in between heating, until the chocolate is melted and easily pourable.

Drizzle the chocolate over the bars in a random pattern.

Let the bars cool completely (and make sure the chocolate has hardened again) before removing from the pan. Cut into bars.

I received cereal to work with from General Mills via 37 Cooks.