Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Crispy Chocolate Bars


I love Halloween. Growing up, it was always a favorite holiday of mine – dressing up in costumes, spooky walks in the dark and then sorting and snacking my way through my bag of treats at the end of the night - loads of fun! Over the years, I watched my two boys create costumes, trick-or-treat through our dark neighborhood and gleefully dig into bags filled with candy.


Halloween this year is particularly nostalgic for me as it’s the last year I have a boy at home. While it’s been quite a few years since either of my sons knocked on doors for treats, having a child at home (even if he towers over me!) makes it extra special with candy corn, spiders and pumpkin carving.


I started thinking about some favorite childhood chocolate bars, and when I saw homemade crunch bars featured on Food52 last week they practically leaped off the screen at me.


A few years ago I realized I had not been giving milk chocolate the recognition it deserves.  I inhaled many (many) bars of dark, dark chocolate over the years and ignored milk chocolate in any form. Then I went to an evening of chocolate tasting and it all changed. When I saw we were beginning the tasting with discs of milk, I wrongly assumed it would be sugary and bland. After one small taste, I quickly learned otherwise. Good milk chocolate is rich, smooth and creamy, with hints of caramel. I kept tasting. Bliss.


So when making homemade chocolate crunch bars, I knew I had to use pure, good quality milk chocolate. I also decided to increase the decadence a bit and use chocolate crispy rice cereal. I stopped there with the tweaking, though. I wanted to keep it simple and resisted adding sea salt or cacao nibs, as I tend to do. This is an iconic childhood candy bar and you can’t mess with tradition. Instead, it replicates the original candy bar but seriously elevates it - none of the cheap, flavorless chocolate from the bars of my youth.


Crunchy, crispy and creamy, the puffed rice and rich, milky chocolate are dreamy together. A true classic. I pulled the pan of bars out of the fridge late at night to check them and started cutting off little slivers … be warned, this is dangerous. Many slivers later, I slid the pan back into the fridge.


Watching my younger son snack on these crispy chocolate bars this week warms my heart, and I know yet another treat I’ll be sending off to my sweet boys in college.

Crispy Chocolate Bars
Adapted slightly from Food52
Makes 1-9 inch square pan

20 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped bars or discs
3 cups chocolate crispy rice cereal

Line a 9 inch square pan with foil and set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a medium sauce pan over very low heat, stirring often, until it is creamy and smooth. Remove from heat when there are still a few pieces and keep stirring until they finish melting. You can also microwave the chocolate until melted and smooth.

Scrape the chocolate into a large mixing bowl and pour the rice cereal over. Using a spatula, gently fold the cereal and chocolate together until it is mixed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and pop into the fridge for a few hours, or until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. On a cutting board, cut into desired sized bars and begin nibbling. Store the bars in a cool area.

20 comments:

  1. Hannah, these look delicious. I, like you have ignored milk chocolate for the same reasons. I think it's high time i got in this bandwagon. Happy Halloween! !!!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! I prefer milk chocolate in bar or disc form - chocolate chips have extra sugar added to help hold their shape, so are much sweeter. Just bought some more for a new batch! Happy Halloween to you!

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  2. Hannah, so happy to see this. I never got your last post in my inbox. So glad you and the business are doing well. I am a big fan of milk chocolate, always have been. These krispy treats are wonderful. Happy Halloween!!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Suzanne. I'm having fun with the store! I hope you enjoy a delicious, spooky Halloween.

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  3. Although given a choice I'll take dark chocolate, milk chocolate really is underrated. In some ways you actually get a better taste of the chocolate. Weird. Anyway, these bars are great! Thanks.

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    1. Thank you, John! You're right, I do notice more chocolate taste in the milk than in the dark. It is odd, isn't it? Hope you have a great weekend!

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  4. What a simple and fun idea! And definitely a good inclusion in a care package :) Halloween is my mom's favorite--I can't wait until I get settled down enough somewhere to let my inherited Halloween craze out in full force! Homemade treats like this are an easy place to start. I have a few decorations, but they're all packed up as we're moving in a couple of weeks! I'll just have to eat more candy as consolation :)

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    1. I'll bet your Halloween craze will be totally awesome, Brianne! Good luck with your move and hope you have fun settling into your new home. Wishing you a very happy, delicious Halloween!

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  5. Love how simple this is! What a perfect Halloween treat. I think I am going to make these with my son :)

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    1. Have fun, Alyssa! I think you'll both enjoy them. Happy Halloween!

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  6. Oh these look so good and so easy! That's right up my alley these days. And I am getting nostalgic too! Always excited to get your blog emails - love the photos as always!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Beth. These are indeed quick and easy - definitely what I'm appreciating these days, too. Happy Halloween and Shabbat shalom to you!

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  7. Simple treats like this bring back nice memories. I'm sure your son was pleased with this treat. :)

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    1. My son was very pleased, Karen! Someone just suggested using corn flakes instead of rice cereal - I may have to give that a try, too. I hope you are enjoying a beautiful autumn!

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  8. This makes me feel very nostalgic, Hannah. We don't do Halloween much in New Zealand, though in the last five years or so it has started to become more popular. These chocolate crispy bars though were always a staple at every kid's birthday party when I was growing up, and the adults always loved them just as much as the kids :-)

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    1. Thank you, Sue! I'm happy to hear these are popular around the world. They would be perfect for a birthday party. I'm thinking of making a batch as another holiday treat, too - you can never have too many sweets this time of year. :)

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  9. Beautiful photo styling. My favorite foods are simple meals like this. I will try this recipe!
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