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You Are Three Ingredients Away from a DIY Crunch Bar

The best way to celebrate candy bar season is to make them yourself.

Published Oct. 28, 2021.

After trick or treating as a kid, my friends and I would sit down, sort through our earnings, and start trading. A Snickers for a Milky Way. A Hershey Bar for a Twix. My go to? A Crunch bar. Now as an adult (okay, a bigger kid), I wondered if it was worth making a Crunch bar from scratch. In short, the answer is a hard yes. 

And, no, we aren’t using rice.

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It starts with tempering chocolate. This finicky process relies on a fancy term—beta crystals (a.k.a. what maintains chocolate’s shine and snap). Luckily, my colleague Andrea Geary mastered a foolproof method while developing Millionaire Shortbread. “I came up with an alternative that’s much easier: Melt a portion of the chocolate gently, being careful not to let it get too warm, and then stir in the remaining chocolate, which has been finely grated. These small flakes disperse throughout the melted chocolate, and their temperature remains so low that most of their beta crystals remain intact, triggering the formation of new crystals as the chocolate cools so it sets up perfectly shiny and snappy.”

Store-bought Crunch Bars get their “crunch” from crispy rice cereal. But after testing with multiple cereals, we found one that was far superior: Special K. It’s firmer in texture, slightly nutty, and, crunchier. That’s the whole point, right?

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One last thing: a sprinkling of sea salt. Sea salt strikes the perfect balance against the sweet milk chocolate and crunchy cereal. These DIY Crunch Bars can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, but good luck having them last that long. 

Oh, you’re more of a dark chocolate person? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

DIY Chocolate Crunch Bar

Makes 8 bars

  • 12 ounces milk chocolate (9 ounces chopped fine, 3 ounces grated)
  • 1 cup Special K cereal 
  • Sea salt (optional)

1. Make parchment sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of parchment so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of parchment in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra parchment hanging over edges of pan. Push parchment into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing parchment flush to pan.

2. Microwave finely chopped chocolate in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring often, until about two-thirds melted, 2 to 4 minutes. (Melted chocolate should not be much warmer than body temperature; check by holding bowl in palm of your hand.) Add grated chocolate and stir until smooth, returning to microwave for no more than 5 seconds at a time to finish melting if necessary. Stir in Special K. Transfer mixture to prepared pan, spread to edges, and smooth top. Tap pan firmly on counter to release air bubbles, then sprinkle with sea salt, if using. Let chocolate cool on counter until slightly malleable, about 10 minutes.

3. Using paring knife, score chocolate into eight 4 by 2-inch pieces. Let bars cool until firm, about 1 hour. Using parchment overhang, lift bars from pan and transfer to cutting board; discard parchment. Using serrated knife, separate bars by cutting along scored lines. Serve. (Bars can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.)

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