Be Sure to Eat Your Thai Ovaltine: Chocolate Rice Krispies Bars Topped with Ovaltine and Milk Chocolate Bavarian Cream

The very first time I flipped through Sherry Yard's Desserts by the Yard, I folded over the corner of the page with the recipe for "Chocolate Rice Krispies Bars Topped with Ovaltine and Milk Chocolate Bavarian Cream." It was the beautiful photo that sold me. Plus, I was intrigued by the fact that this dessert showcases the flavor of Ovaltine.

Of course I'm familiar with Ovaltine (I'm a big fan of the movie A Christmas Story!), but I never drank it growing up. I made it through virtually my entire childhood without consuming any fluid milk, except when one of the lunch monitors at my elementary school refused to let me leave the cafeteria unless I took a few sips; at my school you couldn't go out to recess until an adult inspected the remains of your lunch and made a determination as to whether or not you had consumed enough.

Anyway, even though I don't have direct experience with the taste of Ovaltine, I heeded Yard's advice to get the Thai version of the drink mix. She says it has a richer, maltier flavor compared to the American variety. I ordered some from Amazon -- although the product is manufactured in Thailand, it is actually labeled as "European Formula" Ovaltine.

The bottom layer of these bars is a mixture of melted milk chocolate and a little vegetable oil, with salt and Rice Krispies folded in. You spread the mixture into a parchment-lined pan and stick it in the fridge. The Bavarian cream that goes on top of the base layer has only three ingredients: milk chocolate, heavy cream, and Ovaltine. You bring half of the cream to a simmer, mix in Ovaltine, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Then you whip the remaining cream to soft peaks, fold it into the cooled chocolate mixture, spread the mixture on top of the Rice Krispies layer, and chill the bars for at least four hours.
I chilled my bars overnight and was surprised at how good they looked after I cut them. The bottom layer was easy to slice through cleanly, and the cream layer kept it shape even though it was not stabilized with gelatin. I sprinkled additional Ovaltine on top before serving and applied it through a sieve, so the top of the bars was evenly coated in fine powder. In the cookbook photo cookbook you can see little pebbles on Ovaltine on top of the bars, so it looks like Yard applied it straight from the jar.

I thought these bars were so freakin' good. The bottom layer was essentially a Nestle Crunch bar. The Bavarian cream was so smooth and creamy and full of chocolate-y malt-ness. The cream was simultaneously light in texture -- like a mousse -- while delivering loads of flavor. I will say that the bars were somewhat difficult to eat. If you tried to pick one up with your fingers, you would end up smooshing the cream layer, and if you tried to eat one with a fork, it was difficult to get the fork through the firm Rice Krispies layer. But still, this was a beautiful, elegant, unusual, and delicious dessert.

Recipe: "Chocolate Rice Krispies Bars Topped with Ovaltine and Milk Chocolate Bavarian Cream" from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard.