Monday, October 08, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine Bars...

Now that we've had some time to settle in, remove a few trees worth of packing paper from several enormous boxes and gotten to know the neighborhood a bit, I think it is safe to say "Wow, I wish we could have moved here a lot sooner!".

The weather has been wonderful, the access we have to the different markets, produce and grocery products in general can't be beat and while the dogs may have missed their lovely fenced-in yard the first couple of days, they are sure eating up all the smells, walking trails and doggy parks (right on the water, no less) that they have been exploring! Look at them - all tuckered out after a day of new adventures. (PS - The photos should now be much larger when you click on them, compared to our older posts.)

I've even managed to get the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day started up at Jeff's new office. We decided to ease in with a fairly fuss-free recipe, making these decadent Good Morning Sunshine Bars out of the next book from the guys behind BakedNYC, Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients.

This decadent treat is made by tossing a crunchy combo of crispy rice cereal squares (use your favorite brand) and chunky nuggets of salted peanuts around a thick, warm syrup made from dark brown sugar, corn syrup, creamy peanut butter (I used homemade - so, natural style works fine), a generous glug of vanilla and to give additional balance to all that sugar, a couple pinches of coarse salt. If you have an aversion to corn syrup, you could try using Brown Rice Syrup or my favorite substitute for this, Golden Syrup - the burnt-sugar, caramel-esque syrup that I love drizzle over buttered toast or pancakes.

If you find it difficult to get the cereal and nuts coated evenly enough, don't be afraid to lightly grease your (clean) hands and dig on in - just make sure the syrup isn't too hot. After gently pressing the slightly sticky mess into a rectangular pan (use a light, but firm hand here - you don't want to crush the cereal too much), you'll want to wait until the mixture has solidified and begun to cool off before rushing off to the finale that completely takes these bars over the top.

Yes, these are drenched in haphazard lines of melted bittersweet chocolate that not only lures in the chocoholics, but adds just enough bite to tone down the inherit sweetness these intensely peanut-y squares have. The original recipe did call for milk chocolate, which I could see appealing to some, but we opted for the darker chocolate because, well, that's just what we like.

Good Morning Sunshine Bars (Adapted from  Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients)

6 cups plain rice cereal squares
1 1⁄4 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter (homemade or natural works fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1⁄2 teaspoons coarse salt
5 to 6 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, toss together cereal and peanuts.

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and corn syrup. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a full boil - allow mixture to boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in peanut butter, vanilla and salt.

Carefully pour mixture over the cereal and peanuts, then use a sturdy wooden spoon to toss the ingredients together until thoroughly coated.  Scoop the mixture out into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with cooking spray (you can also line the pan with foil or parchment paper, if desired, to make removal of the bars easier). Using greased hands, gently press the mixture down until it forms an even layer, trying not to crush the mixture as you go along.

Set pan aside and allow to cool to room temperature. Drizzle melted chocolate all over the top, then set aside until the chocolate has just begin to solidify before cutting into bars.

Makes about 24 servings.


  1. I love everything from Baked Bakery. I haven't seen these yet, but they look and sound so good :)

  2. Welcome back to the Internet!

  3. Congratulations on another successful move and I'm glad to see you posting on Blogger again!

  4. Welcome back to posting recipes!!! A great snack!

  5. So glad you are back posting!

  6. These look and sound so good! I'm thrilled to see you posting the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day once more...just when I was gaining some headway with my weight loss! Also, glad to hear that y'all are enjoying the Pacific coast.

  7. Welcome back, I'm glad you're posting again. Hope to see lots of new recipes!

  8. Yay! You're back to posting. I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying California!

  9. I agree! You have been missed. And as always, these bars look fabulous'

  10. Best tuckered out dog(s) picture ever!!! Welcome back!

  11. What a great recipe.....such sweet fur babies too.
    Welcome back!!


  12. These look amazing! So glad you're back.

  13. OOhh!! I don't have Baked Elements yet...I think I just increased my Christmas list.
    LOVE the recipe, and I know a certain carpool of teenagers who would love it too.
    So glad you are settling in!

  14. My dear friends i am so glad you have made it to California and to a very beautiful area. I miss you my friends and hope to see you soon once you have gotten all settled in. I hear US Airways printing my ticket Love to the both of you and of course Gus and Dora.

    Love Dominique

  15. Those lucky office coworkers who will look forward to every Wednesday!

  16. That office doesn't know how lucky they are. Of course, if Jeff is working for the same company, I wouldn't be surprised it the possibility of Joe's treats are listed in the company guidelines in the special features section. Ha.

    So happy that you are enjoying your new digs.