This weekend my good friend Vanessa hosted a surprise 60th birthday party for her mom's best friend.
Vanessa's mom Lucy is adorable and hilarious and makes the most gorgeous sea glass jewelry and has five dogs and owns a sub shop and says things like "Oh, balls."
Lucy & Vanessa, 2009
So it would only be natural that she has an equally fabulous best friend.
Enter Paulette. She cracks me up by saying the funniest things, and her mannerisms top it all off. Frankly she's a little scatterbrained and spastic, but it's really quite endearing.
So... I knew that I had to make something amazing for her special day. For a while I've had Peanut Butter Crispy Bars from Baked on my list of "Must Try" recipes, but I got to thinking ... what if I made the base layer with peanut butter, and added some Nutella in the mix?
And ate half the Nutella jar in the process?
Actually that last part wasn't in the plan, it just sort of spontaneously happened.
Anywho I brought the bars to the party, and aside from surviving the 'end of the world,' I think that dessert might have been the best thing to happen to about 10 middle-aged, chocolate-fiending females on Saturday night.
Not long after the desserts were put out, Paulette flew into the kitchen, eyes wide & pointing frantically at her over-stuffed mouth.
I was about to start giving her the Heimlich when she swallowed and said "Maggie! Those thingys you made are delicious, what are they?"
I explained that they were peanut butter crispy bars with dark chocolate & Nutella, and she was so overjoyed that she hugged me!
Then I walked outside onto the back deck, and was greeted by more excited chatter from the other ladies who had sampled my wares.
I heard a lot of very generous compliments, but my favorite was that they were "orgasmic."
One woman asked for the recipe, but I didn't have it memorized so I promised to get it to Vanessa for her. Another woman asked for the basic ingredients, which I was able to explain.
Then not long after, the first woman came up to me all upset that the second woman was given the recipe and she wasn't!
I kindly explained that it wasn't actually a recipe, just the list of ingredients - but she still seemed suspicious.
Ironically, I had just asked her not more than an hour earlier for a recipe for her spinach salad with strawberries. And she threatened to take it back!
I'm sure she was kidding.
But here's a little piece of advice - if you are planning to bring these bars to a party, make sure you also bring the recipe.
Otherwise you might get jumped by a gang of 55 year-old women.
And it would be awfully awkward to explain that black eye to your friends & coworkers the next day.
Crispy Peanut Butter Nutella Bars
Peanut Butter Crisp:
- 4 C. crispy rice cereal
- 2/3 C. brown sugar
- 2/3 C. light corn syrup
- 2/3 C. peanut butter
- 1 1/2 C. chocolate chips
- 1 C. Nutella spread
- 6 oz. dark (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
- 1 t. light corn syrup
- 8 T. butter, cut into tablespoons
Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Place corn syrup, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture begins to boil (be careful here, it can burn quickly). Remove from heat and stir in rice cereal. Stir to coat thoroughly, then press into prepared pan evenly using a greased spatula.
Place pan in refrigerator to cool. Meanwhile, make second layer: place chocolate chips and Nutella into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Pour over cooled cereal mixture and spread evenly with offset spatula.
Allow second layer to cool completely. Then make chocolate icing: place dark chocolate, 1 t. light corn syrup, and butter into microwave-safe bowl. Melt in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth. Pour over cooled bars and spread evenly with offset spatula.
Allow to cool, then cut into bars. Keep leftovers in refrigerator in air-tight container, for 4-5 days. Makes about 18 (they are very rich, so I actually cut them a lot smaller for the party- but you can cut them whatever size you like).
Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, via Smitten Kitchen