Every time I visit NYC, it's mandatory to bring home a bag of Jacques Torres' chocolate-covered cornflakes. I discovered them years ago, and these crispy little clusters of cereal covered in dark chocolate have become an obsession of mine. Here's my riff on them in bar form, with a tasty peanut butter twist!
These gluten-free bars are super-easy to make: Mix crunchy cornflake cereal with honey and peanut butter, and bake just briefly so everything holds together. The mandatory chocolate comes in the form of melted chocolate chips that get drizzled all over the top.
These squares aren't as sturdy as Rice Krispies treats are — they're much more delicate in nature — but I love them even more for that. Plus, they're a much cheaper way of getting my Jacques Torres fix than a cross-country plane ticket.
Cornflake and Peanut Butter Squares
Makes 16 (2-inch) squares
Cooking spray or vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
6 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F.
Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, making sure there is excess paper hanging off 2 of the sides, then spray the the whole interior of the pan with cooking spray or grease with oil; set aside.
Place the cornflakes in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until coarsely crushed, about 5 (1-second) pulses. (Alternatively, place the cornflakes in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with a rolling pin.) Transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the honey, peanut butter, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until combined, until warm and liquid enough to pour, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour over the cornflakes and gently stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Transfer the mixture to the baking pan and use wet or oiled hands to press firmly into the pan to form an even layer.
Bake until the bars are just fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes (do not overbake or the bars will be too brittle). Remove the pan to a wire cooling rack.
Place the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate on the stovetop over low heat.) Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars.
Let the bars sit until completely cooled and the chocolate is hardened, about 1 hour. Use the excess parchment to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares with a very sharp knife. Store in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.
Portable squares: To make them easier to slip into backpacks and lunch boxes, you can also wrap each square individually in wax paper or plastic wrap.