I am a lucky lady for many reasons, one of which is that I have a lot of really smart and talented people in my life. Last week I found myself wanting to make celebratory treats for some of the awesome things a group of these folks accomplished. I am not so lucky when it comes to having lots of free time on my hands however, so I needed something quick and easy. Nothing is much easier, quicker, and as crowd pleasing than a good old rice krispy treat, which was my starting point for these goods. I wanted to transform the traditional treat into something a bit more complex and of course beer infused. The marshmallows in these bars are replaced with a barley malt syrup/peanut butter mixture and are topped with a rich chocolate porter sauce. I used a bottle of Green Flash Park West Porter that has been in my fridge for a while (probably too long, but it still tasted great…). Any porter that has nice chocolate notes will work. The result is not really anything like the rice krispy treats of your childhood, but I think that’s Ok.
If you have never used barley malt syrup before or have never heard of it, it is basically a very thick syrup made of malted, sprouted barley. The very same type of barley used in brewing beer. It is sweet and used as an alternative to sugar in baking and cooking. The syrup is half as sweet as normal refined white sugar and is considered a very healthy alternative sweetener. I like it because of that, but mainly because it gives a gentle malty beer flavor to things. This is a fun ingredient to use when adding beer flavors to your cooking. I used it as a glaze for a Thanksgiving turkey one year and it was beautiful and tasted great. You can find jars of the syrup in most health food stores (including Whole Foods) in the baking aisle.
With the addition of the syrup and omission of the marshmallows, these treats are not as sweet as your normal rice krispy treat and the texture is a less on the crispy side and more on the chewy side. With that said, the flavors are fantastic with malt and peanut butter being balanced by the porter chocolate sauce. If you are looking for a quick, but fancy grown up rice krispy treat, give these a try.
Oh, and be sure to store these covered tightly in the fridge. They get soggy if left out on the counter and no one likes a soggy rice krispy treat.
What you need
- 4.5 cups puffed rice cereal (I used a brown rice version)
- ¾ cup barley malt syrup
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1.5 tsp vanilla
- 1.5 tablespoons porter
Porter Chocolate topping
- 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup porter
What you do
To make the bars, start by greasing an 11×7 or 8×8 baking dish and put the puffed rice cereal in a large bowl. Next, put the barley malt syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, and 1.5 tablespoons of porter in a saucepan and heat over medium-low. Heat the mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until it is smooth and well combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the cereal and stir well until everything is combined and the cereal is evenly coated. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top. An easy way to do this is place a piece of saran wrap or parchment paper on the top of the bars and press down. Cover the bars and place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While the bars are cooling, start making the chocolate topping by heating ¾ cup porter in a small sauce pan over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the porter is reduced by half. When the porter is reduced, removed the pan from the heat and add in the chocolate. Stir the mixture until it is smooth. You can add the pan back on a low heat if need be to smooth out the chocolate. When the porter chocolate is smooth, pour it over the chilled bars and even out over the pan. Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars to serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.