You know what we’re not too good for? Homemade rice krispy treats. Look, I know we all grew up eating them, and maybe they feel kind of basic. You might be one of those people who is kinda freaked out by marshmallows, or perhaps you just hate delicious food (Who are you, anyways?). I for one LOVE Rice Krispies and, given the opportunity, would happily destroy a pan or two if you sent them my way. Today we’re paying tribute to those after-school favorites with these crispy millionaire bars: a shortbread crust filled with a soft salted caramel and topped with a crispy chocolate and rice cereal crunch. They’re a fun mash-up of two of my comforting faves, and I think you’re going to like them.
I have a friend who is basically a rice krispy all-star. If make rice treats was a sport, she would be, like, Michael Phelps or LeBron. At one point, she gave me her recipe and it was something hyper-specific that required me to count out the jumbo marshmallows one by one. I made them precisely how she told me to, and it was laughable. They were hard and sticky and not even nearly as good as hers. I want to believe I messed them up, but something tells me she just likes being the rice krispy wizard. The joke is on her anyways- I’d take eating krispies with a friend any day.
This same friend also loves shortbread, so crispy millionaire bars are right up her alley. A buttery shortbread crust topped with salty caramelized filling and a snap-crackle-pop topping is the perfect combo of her two favorite things. Luckily, it’s a favorite of mine too, so even if I can’t make good rice krispies at least I now have crispy marshmallow bars. That’s what we call a glass-half-full kind of perspective, folks.
To make crispy millionaire bars, we start with our shortbread. Softened butter is creamed with sugar until smooth, and flour and salt are added to the mix. The dry crumb comes together in a square metal pan and bakes in a preheated oven for a few minutes while you prep your filling. Although there’s many ways to make a caramel filling for this kind of bar, we’re taking the easy way out by opting for one made via sweetened condensed milk. Combined with butter, brown sugar, and a smidge of salt and corn syrup, the milk makes a thick, sweet and salty caramel that works every.single.time. Carefully pour the hot caramel over the baked shortbread and allow it to set up completely on the counter or in the fridge.
Once the caramel in your crispy millionaire bars has cooled, melt some chocolate and fold in your rice cereal. Be careful with the cereal so it stays crunchy and in tact. Spread the mixture on top of the cooled caramel and allow it all to firm up, again, in the fridge. When ready to eat, slice in into bite-sized bars and enjoy! I love to nibble on these crispy millionaire bars when they’re barely to room temperature, but be sure to store them in the fridge- the caramel is gooey and it will start to droop out if you let it.
I hope you get a chance to make these crispy millionaire bars this weekend. Maybe share them with a friend? Maybe not? Either way, get your sweet on and enjoy these treats ASAP. Happy Thursday and have a great finish to this short week! Cheers!
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Crispy Millionaire Bars
These crispy millionaire bars have a shortbread crust, a salted caramel filling, and a crispy rice cereal and chocolate topping! Perfect for making ahead and sharing!
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 120
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the shortbread:
- ¾ cup (170 gm) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- 1–1/2 cups (210 gm) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the caramel filling:
- 6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
- 1–14 ounce can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the chocolate crunch:
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- ¾ cup rice cereal
To prepare the shortbread:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and use a large sheet of aluminum foil to wrap the insides of an 8 or 9” square metal pan with overhang on the sides.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until well combined and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add the flour and salt and stir just until combined into loose crumbs. Dump the mixture into the prepared lined pan and press it evenly into the bottom. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden, about 30-35 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the caramel filling.
To prepare the caramel filling:
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter and sugar together, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted. Add the sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup and bring the mixture to a boil. Begin stirring continuously and cook for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has turned lightly golden and has thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Remove from the heat immediately and stir in the salt. Pour the mixture over the shortbread and set aside to cool completely. You can expedite this process by refrigerating it.
To prepare the chocolate crunch:
- Once the caramel layer has set, place a large bowl over a slightly small saucepan filled with 1” of water. Place the pan over medium-low heat and add the chocolate to the bowl, stirring regularly to gently melt it. Be sure to not let the chocolate overheat or it may seize. Once melted and smooth, fold in the rice cereal and then spread the mixture over top of the set caramel layer. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving.