Instead of the typical melted marshmallows, this clever recipe calls for melted vanilla chips. With crisp rice cereal, peanut butter and nuts, these bars taste almost like candy.
- 2 packages (10 to 12 ounces each) vanilla or white chips
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 7 cups crisp rice cereal
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water
- 4-1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Red and blue food coloring
- Red, blue and white sprinkles
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the vanilla chips and peanut butter. Microwave, uncovered, at 50% power for 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes or until melted; stir until smooth. Stir in cereal and peanuts. Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. pan. Let stand at room temperature until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Divide the pan of bars in half. On one half, cut out stars using a greased 2-1/2-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Cut remaining half into 3-1/4-in. x 1-1/4-in. bars for stripes.
- In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Divide frosting among three bowls. Tint one red and one blue and leave remaining frosting white. Decorate cutouts with frosting and sprinkles. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Plantation Bars in Best of Country Cookies 1999, p109
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