Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1-1/4 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups crisp rice cereal

Utensils: jelly roll pan

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased, jelly roll pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake; return to oven for 2-3 minutes. Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake. Cool.

For topping:
Combine chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter in a small saucepan, Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and well blended. Remove from heat; stir in cereal. Spread over bars. Chill. Cut into 36 bars.

Serve chilled (best) or at room temperature.

Serves 36

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana