Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cereal Bars Variations

Once more, for only the second time thus far, your Chocolate Priestess has a recipe to share.  Actually it is two recipes, minor variations on a very simple cereal bar that was enriched and made special through the use of Guittard 55% Cacao squares.  Guittard sent me 4, 24 square pallets of their chocolate along with samples of their new candy bars in the very early spring.  I've reviewed the milk chocolate variety and then it because crazy hot and humid this summer.

We had a break from our 30+ days of continuous 90+ weather and I really wanted to make something.  The problem was that I knew the 90s were coming back and I feel so guilty when I heat up our house only to force the air conditioner to work harder.  So after thinking for a day, I decide to make cereal bars and since I've made this sort of treat many, many times, I decide to make it off the top of my head.

I had the ingredients readily available and in this photo you can see the four ingredients I used to make my peanut variety of cereal bars.  14oz box of Cheerios divided in two so 7oz each.  A 12oz jar of unsalted peanuts that I pulverized in the blender.  1 stick of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter". And the 55% Cacao chocolate from Guittard that I melted in the microwave.  The difference between the bars was the amount of chocolate and substituting mini marshmallows for the peanuts.

The chocolate comes in these squares and for the first peanut variation I used 8 squares.  I hope you can see that the squares have a cocoa pod on them which makes them so cute that it is almost sad to melt them.  I used the same bowl that I melted the "butter" and after 2 minutes and some stirring it was completely melted and smooth, no burning, not sticking at all.  Perfect.  When I switched to 12 squares instead of 8 for the marshmallow variety, it took a minute longer in the microwave but result in the same creamy, smooth chocolate.

The peanut variety was easy to make though the end result was more peanut taste than chocolate.  That really struck me as odd since I was 55% not milk chocolate but I think it was because there were actual peanuts pieces and that increased their flavor.  Making the marshmallow variation turned out to be an adventure in messiness as the photo begins to show part way through the mixing of all four ingredients.

The marshmallows had to be mixed in and they took up far more space than the peanuts did.  I did not melt the marshmallows at all so the bars have them and you could see them but we ate these up so far, I forgot to take final photos.  But back to the messy situation.  I didn't realize how much of a mess I made until I lifted up the mixer top.  Eek! My beautiful mixer!  My wonderful, tasty chocolate!  I cleaned it all up making sure the chocolate went in my tummy more than on the wash cloth.  I need the flash to get this but it wasn't this red in reality, very nice darker chocolate.

I placed both 9X13 glass pans (not greased) into the frig for an hour and then cut them.  I can say that a group of six people passed judgment and said they tasted good but yes, the peanut one had less chocolate flavor.

In short form, here are the recipes:

Peanut Chocolate Cheerios Bars
8 squares 55% Guittard chocolate melted
1 stick "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" melted
7oz plain Cheerios
12oz unsalted pulverized peanuts

Marshmallow Chocolate Cheerios Bars
12 squares 55% Guittard chocolate melted
1 stick "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" melted
7oz plain Cheerios
11oz bag of mini marshmallows

Mix ingredients together and spread in 9X13 inch pan, do not grease or line with anything.  Let set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  The peanut bars will fall apart far more than the marshmallow ones.  These bars have no added sugar or salt.

Of the two cacao content cacao squares I've tried, both of them are amazing.  Not only do they taste great either immediately or even days after baking or candy making with them, but they each melt perfectly.  Guittard is the best chocolate I have found for my homemade treats.  While the price is higher than running to your grocery store, I believe it is worth every penny especially for holidays and special occasions.

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