Holiday cookies: Recipe for crackle bark

You may not lay a finger on anyone’s Butterfinger, but you will want to grab a plateful of this Butterfinger-inspired holiday bark. Like the candy bar, this sweet treat is jammed with peanut butter, has a satisfyingly crunchy-flaky bite and – of course – sports plenty of chocolate. But to keep your enamel intact, we made it slightly less sweet and a little more grown up.
Start to finish: 20 minutes, plus cooling
Servings: 18
1 tablespoon coffee beans, finely crushed or ground
3 tablespoons barley malt syrup
6 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups crushed Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal
1/2 cup Grape-Nuts breakfast cereal
1/2 cup dark chocolate bits
Coarse sea salt
1/2 cup chopped lightly salted peanuts
Have 2 sheets of kitchen parchment or waxed paper the size of baking sheets nearby.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coffee beans, malt syrup, honey and peanut butter. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in both cereals until everything is evenly coated. Spoon the mixture onto 1 sheet of waxed paper, then top it with the second sheet.

Working quickly, use the back of a large spoon or a rolling pin to flatten and squash the mixture into a thin sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet and top with the chocolate bits. Allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes so the chocolate can melt. Use a butter knife or offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top of the bark. Sprinkle with sea salt and the peanuts.

Allow to fully cool, then break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories; 70 calories from fat (44 per cent of total calories); 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 4 g protein; 70 mg sodium.

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