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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bittersweet Chocolate Crunch Bars

*Full Disclosure: I am a HUGE fan of Mast Brothers chocolate, I was not paid to write this post, and I purchased the cookbook myself. 

A few times a year I will order special chocolate to savor in small pieces over several nights by the wood stove. Mast Brothers is one of a handful of places I regularly order from. Now it goes without saying that they have great chocolate, but I wasn't really sure that would translate to a great cookbook. I knew the book would be beautiful (it is), but would any of the recipes actually be appropriate for a home cook? I was hesitant to make the purchase (the book isn't cheap) until I saw the trailer. Have you seen the trailer for the Mast Brothers cookbook? It's fun and clever and probably the best cookbook trailer ever! Go watch it now...I'll wait 'til you get back....

So fun, right? After watching it I immediately purchased the book. I was still nervous, would this just be another cookbook that I enjoy "reading" and then it goes on the shelf, never to be cracked open again? When the book came in I sat down with my little pile of page markers. When I first buy a book I usually only mark recipes that really stand out, things I want to make immediately. It wasn't long before I had 12 recipes marked and I wasn't even half way into the book. The recipes like this one that I am sharing today are fairly easy to make. No hard to find ingredients or complex techniques, they really are family recipes (chocolate family recipes) that you might find in your Mom's recipe box. This book won't be sitting on a shelf anytime soon.
As for this recipe, I cut the original in half. There are only two of us in the house and I don't have co-workers to share this stuff with right now. Even with half the recipe I still had to tuck a few pieces in my neighbors mailbox so we wouldn't eat a whole (half) batch. The one thing that I liked about this cookbook is nowhere in any of the recipes did they say you had to use Mast Brothers chocolate. Since I like to eat my Mast Brothers Chocolate in its purest form I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet baking bars for this recipe. Also, the finished bars are a bit crumbly, you will want to slice them into thick pieces otherwise they will crumbly to bits.
Bittersweet Chocolate Crunch Bars
adapted from Mast Brothers Chocolate - A Family Cookbook

3/4 pound (12 oz.) Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/8 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
2 cups puffed rice cereal

Line a  9x4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the edges to create handles. This will allow for easy removal of the chocolate later. I used two skinny strips of parchment cut to overhang in both directions to avoid sticking on the sides. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water).  Mix in peanut butter, honey, and espresso powder. Add puffed rice cereal and stir until all the puffed rice is thoroughly coated. Gently press the mixture into the loaf pan, let set in the refrigerator until solid, about 4 hours. Remove the chocolate from the pan with the "parchment handles" and use a sharp knife to slice into 3/4 inch thick bars. You can cut the longer bars into thirds if you want to make "fun size" bars.


  1. These look amazing, and so easy! Can't wait to make them! The cookbook is now on my wish list. Loved the video, too. Nice to see cooks with a sense of humor! :)

  2. these look so yummy! I love chocolate crunch bars!


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