The perfect trifecta — peanut butter, chocolate and salt.

I’m not a big “no-bake” person. But these looked so good.

Straight-forward, bite-sized little peanut butter and chocolate candy bars. With a crispies crust. And a tiny pinch of kosher salt.

Julia’s getting into this kitchen stuff. Well, mostly. I think the actual tasting is still the bigger draw.

I chose this recipe not only because I’m a peanut butter-holic, but also so Julia could be hands-on for most of it.

Everything but the whole “boiling the sugar” part.

And the “melting the chocolate and peanut butter” part.

These confections tend to make people pretty happy. They were all I served for dessert at an Inception party.

I wanted to offer a dessert buffet — Boston cream pie or cappuccino cheesecake or Grenadian spice cake with rum-marinated pineapple.

But, no…just a plateful of these tiny peanut butter bars.

However, I think they liked them.

I’m not sure they were as crazy about Inception.

I liked the bars, the movie and the fact that this recipe broke my two-month abstinence from peanut butter.

I missed it…so…much.

It’s best to give these a little time to age.

They taste pretty good after a couple of hours in the refrigerator, but they are d-a-m-n good the next day.

And the day after that. That is, if they last that long.

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking via Smitten Kitchen

For the crust

  • 1 3/4 crisped rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • pinch of kosher salt

For the chocolate/peanut butter layer

  • 5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • pinch of kosher salt

For the chocolate icing

  • 3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter

Crust: Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable spray. Place the crisped rice cereal in a bowl and set aside.

Fill a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup, being careful not to get any sugar or corn syrup on the sides of the pan. Stir gently until just combined. Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.

Remove saucepan from the stove, stir in the butter and a pinch of kosher salt, and carefully add mixture to the crisped rice. Thoroughly coat the cereal with the syrup and press mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared baking pan.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate/peanut butter layer: Combine chocolate and peanut butter in large stove-proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water. Allow mixture to melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool, about one minute. Spread mixture over cool crust. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt evenly over mixture. Refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until peanut butter layer is hard.

Dark chocolate icing: Mix together chocolate, butter and corn syrup in large stove-proof bowl. Place over pot of gently simmering water. Allow mixture to melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Spread evenly over hardened peanut butter layer and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until the top has hardened. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor!

Cut into bite-sized squares and serve.