Friday, April 24, 2009

Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

I enjoy a baking challenge, but I'm also a huge fan of some of the most simple sweets, one of those being rice krispy treats. Is there anything better you can make with four basic ingredients? (I'd love some feedback on that, by the way!) I say four instead of three, because as with pretty much everything else I make, adding in a little vanilla makes them even better! I think it's also a bit nostalgic. My mom didn't make them regularly when I was a kid, but they're just kind of a kid food, right?
While I do LOVE the traditional treat, I'm always interested in seeing ways that the rice krispy treat has been enhanced or combined with other ingredients The well- known scotcharoo is a variation lots of us have enjoyed. Although, when I make them I leave out the butterscotch chips and only use chocolate. Delicious, but highly addictive, so they're rarely made by me.
But aside from the scotcharoo, there are so many other alterations out there! So, I was excited when I came across this recipe. A combination of rich brownie, marshmallow, peanut butter and rice krispies...well, I just had to try it. Sure it's got more than your basic four ingredients, but it's worth the extra time and work. Look out scotcharoos, I think these beat you by a mile. They were awesome.
Marshmallow Crunch Brownie Bars

Brownie Ingredients:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
1 ¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:
7 ounces mini marshmallows
1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter (I love Jif)
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1 ½ cups Rice Krispies

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan OR cover your pan with foil first and then spray with cooking spray. It makes cutting the bars a million times easier (and more even, at least for me!) because you just pull the whole thing out of the pan and then cut. And the clean up is almost nothing too!

In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter, and ¾ cup of the semisweet chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir occasionally while melting. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, place the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add in the sugar and vanilla. Stir the melted ingredients into the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in the dry sifted ingredients and mix well. Fold in the remaining ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and even with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the corner of the pan comes out with moist crumbs.
Remove the brownies from the oven, and immediately sprinkle the marshmallows over them. Return the pan to the oven for 3 more minutes.

While the brownies are baking, place the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat, add the cereal,and mix well. Allow this to cool for 3 minutes or so.

Spread the mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate until chilled before cutting. These are pretty rich, so you can actually cut them pretty small...or not, it's up to you!

One more thing: Do you hate it when recipes give ingredients in weight instead of cups like the 7 ounces of marshmallow in this recipe? I did, but then I bought a food scale and I LOVE IT! I use it a lot more than I thought. When a recipe calls for 1 pound of chicken, I can actually use that amount instead of guessing. I was making rolls for Easter and knew that I was supposed to get 16 rolls out of the dough, so I weighed the dough, divided the amount by 16 and made sure my garlic knots (recipe coming soon for that one) each weighed the same amount. I know, a little bit OCD, but I loved that they all turned out the same size.
For this recipe if you don't have a scale, just use enough marshmallows to cover the brownie layer. Or a few more. You can't go wrong with extra marshmallows, I promise!

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