Sometimes you come across a recipe that surprises you. I never thought something so simple as caramelizing cripsy rice could be so delicious. This simple treat had to be re-made several times for me to capture a picture of the end result. Somehow these bars kept disappearing before an image was taken.
The ingredients are simple enough but it’s how they are put together that makes them special. The trickiest part was caramelizing the rice but I enjoyed the taste so much that I did it for every batch I made.
The first time I tried to caramelize the cripsies I threw out the batch thinking I had messed up. When I went for in for a second attempt I learned I had to just keep going until the rice started looking wet and developed a caramel coating. Every time I’ve made it since then I get the feeling things are going wrong and I just keep going. The powdery sugar coating that develops is so unlike any other caramelization process that I find it a little disconcerting every time. Well worth the effort though-I could munch on this treat all day.
The cookie base comes next and is about as simple as you can get. A simple mixture of butter, brown sugar and flour with a little vanilla flavor. The base was described as “chewy” but I made this several times with varying degrees of doneness and every time the base was more crispy and crunchy than chewy. However, it was also amazing. With all the taste testing that we and our friends did it was decided the the most done, almost a little over-baked version was the best.
The hardest part of the process was getting the batter into the pan. It’s quite sticky and fights being spread. I found that keeping a little cup of water nearby to occasionally wet my fingertips helped keep everything in check.
Once the base is done chocolate pieces are added to the hot top and it’s all placed back into the turned-off oven for a minute or two. Once the chocolate is nice and melty it gets spread across the base and you can add the caramelized crispy rice.
The only problem is that the whole thing now needs to cool to room temp and then go into the fridge to cool. It’s already warm in Phoenix this time of year so I kept the bars in the fridge even after they had been cut.
The bars are a wonderful mixture of brown sugar toffee flavor, earthy chocolate and a delicious crispy, caramel topping. The reminded me of the delicious saltine and brown sugar bars that I’ve found called both bravo bars as well as matzah toffee. These were however elevated to quite another level while still maintaining the simple flavor ideas.