Happy Endings

I recently went to a friend's house for dinner and he made a chicken dish with the most charming sauce. It was rich and creamy with a hint of heat and spice. I asked about it and it turned out he'd put together a sauce with peanut butter, cinnamon and cayenne -- very Thai, all things considered. He suggested adding cocoa to it in the future to give it a bit more of a mole twist, which I thought was a grand idea.

I went home and that sauce and its components kept sitting on the back burner in my head. A few days later, I was going through my baking pantry in an effort to use things that needed using and I came across a half a box of crisped rice cereal. I could always make the standby rice krispy treats -- but that yummy sauce kept popping back into mind. That's when I decided that chocolate and peanut butter wanted to meet cinnamon and cayenne. So I pulled out a few choice ingredients and about ten minutes later, I have a big pan of bars with a decidedly Thai twist to them. A couple hours later, I cut into them and took a bite. I've got to say -- if you have a penchant for spicy food, these bars are heaven. What a fantastic end to a festive holiday meal ... even better alongside a mocha or hot chocolate! Happy holidays!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Thai Candy Bars

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. corn syrup
  • 1 c. chunky peanut butter
  • 5 c. crisped rice cereal
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
  • Ground cinnamon and cayenne, for sprinkling (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture bubbles and is clear. Add the peanut butter and stir until well-incorporated. Add the cereal and remove the pan from the heat. Stir to evenly coat the cereal and press evenly into the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 1 minute. Mix and heat for another minute. stir the chips until they are smooth. Add the cinnamon and cayenne and mix until they are well-incorporated into the melted chocolate. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cereal in the pan and sprinkle the top with cinnamon and cayenne, if desired. Cool completely and cut into bars before serving.

  • Yields: 15 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling time.

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