Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunches

13cBarsCutbfLOTasty, dairy-free (vegan, even, if you use Earth Balance buttery spread or sticks) and pretty darned good for you, I think.

Well, as good for you as a dessert munchie can be… shredded wheat, peanut butter, brown sugar, a bit of corn syrup, vanilla, dairy-free chocolate chips, and E.B.

This recipe comes from Dash magazine via email and was touted as a no-bake dessert option, but I was all-about the no-dairy for Rich’s sake.

•4 Tbsp butter (or buttery spread)
•1-1/3 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
•1/2 cup light corn syrup
•1/3 cup brown sugar
•4 cups, crumbled, shredded wheat
•1 tsp pure vanilla extract
•1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips
•Coarse sea salt

03CerealCrushbfLOFirst, for the shredded wheat. The Dash recipe called for crumbling 7 large bars of the stuff, but I’d had a buy 1, get 1 coupon for the bite-sized, so Rich had one box for breakfasts, and I used most of the other to get 4 crumbled cups by pulsing in the food processor and them giving it all a good whack! Seemed to work fine.

06PeanutButterSmoothbfLOIf you need to go dairy-free, the Earth Balance spread is nice – you can also buy it in sticks like butter. I am kind of loathe to give up my butter for some stuff, but for these bars, I will gladly save Rich from popping a pill. For the chocolate chips, look at the ingredients; dark may be your best bet, but Guittard semi-sweet chips are gluten-free, and only share equipment ‘previously used to process milk chocolate’ – which seemed to be far enough removed for Rich’s dairy issue.

Line the bottom of an 8×8″ baking pan with foil and set aside.

10AddPeanutButterbfLOMelt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, then add 1 cup of the peanut butter, the brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

Add the crumbled shredded wheat and stir until completely coated in the peanut butter mixture. Turn into the foil-lined pan and pat down until mostly level.

Spread the remaining 1/3 cup of peanut butter evenly over the top of the patted down shredded wheat mixture and set aside.

12bChocolateSpreadbfLOPlace the chocolate chips in a ‘wave-safe bowl and cook in 15 to 20 second bursts, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.

Spread the melted chocolate over the top of the peanut butter, then sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.

Stash the whole thing in the fridge for an hour or two, then pop out of the pan and slice into square bars.

Nice, tho’ next time, I may ditch the square pan and make it as a tart…

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