There is something you should know about Chicago. The ENTIRE city goes completely apeshit for St. Patrick’s Day. This is not a normal kind of apeshit. This is a -dye the entire river green, 48 hours straight of drinking, drunk people everywhere, barf in the streets/on the sidewalks, take over every restaurant and bar in the city- kind of insanity. It might be the one weekend a year where I actually hate Chicago. Although remarkably, everything gets cleaned up pretty quickly.
How do you deal with a city gone mad? Bake. And eat. And maybe have a beer or two so you don’t feel completely left out.
I made what are pretty much grown-up rice krispie treats. Except you replace the rice krispies with rice chex and peanuts and the marshmallow with what is essentially the beginnings of a peanut butter caramel. And then you add a chocolate drizzle on top. They also sort of remind me of those Kudos bars I used to get in my lunch in elementary/middle school. Except these are better. Much better.
Good Morning Sunshine Bars
recipe from Baked Elements by Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis
6 cups rice chex cereal
1 1/4 cups roasted salted peanuts, chopped
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 TB vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
4 to 6 oz milk chocolate, melted
- Use nonstick spray to lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish. Line with parchment. Spray parchment lightly with nonstick spray.
- Toss cereal and chopped peanuts with your hands in a large bowl until combined.
- Combine brown sugar and corn syrup in a small or medium saucepan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Caution: hot sugar is basically lava.
- Pour mixture over the cereal/peanuts, and stir until the cereal is coated. Be gentle so as to not crush too much of the cereal.
- Once cereal is coated, press into the bottom of prepared pan. Cool to room temperature. You can also refrigerate it for 20 minutes to speed up the process.
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Drizzle on top.
- Once chocolate sets, lift out of pan using the overhanging parchment and cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container (in the fridge, if your kitchen is warm and/or humid). You can also wrap them individually and store in the fridge, like I did in the picture above.