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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kogi's Sriracha Bar Clone

After tasting the Sriracha Bar from the Kogi Korean BBQ truck, I knew I had to try and recreate it at home. It was so good yet so seemingly simple! Pure genius! A base of rice krispie chocolate a la a Crunch Bar gets topped with caramel and sriracha infused chocolate ganache. Throw in some peanuts and shroud it all in chocolate for the most addicting candy bar ever. I am not a huge hot and spicy fan, but even I loved the fruity warmth of the sriracha combined with the bittersweet chocolate.

With all the different textures and layers, this seemed like a challenge for Miss Mochi! I have never made caramel before, and I wanted this to be easy enough that I could whip this up on a whim, as well as give friends outside Southern California an opportunity to try this. 

Firstly, this undertaking required some Food Lab-like thinkage. I broke down the bar into sections: Crunch base, sriracha ganache, caramel with peanuts, chocolate covering. The peanuts and chocolate covering were no-brainers...

So how hard could caramel and the rest be?

Oh my god, it burns! Word to the wise: do not treat caramel lightly. I tried to catch a drip with my finger when I was pouring the caramel onto the base, and wound up howling around the kitchen even after shoving my finger into a bag of frozen peas. Water boils at 212°F, and you heat the caramel to 350 before adding in the cream and butter. That shit is hot. Plus peas and caramel are not one of my favorite flavor combinations, and I ended up having a throbbing finger covered in peas and caramel. Not to mention a nice blister the next day.

My first caramel recipe used condensed milk, and was very tasty, but it was a recipe for a hard caramel candy instead of a caramel sauce, so the caramel layer ended up being hard as a rock. It tasted more like peanut brittle than what I wanted: a thick creamy caramel layer. Back to the drawing board.

Armed with a more suitable caramel recipe, I thought I could cheat and do a crispy ganache with siracha, and not have to do so many separate layers. After all, what was the point of having a second chocolate layer? It didn't work, as my rice crispies got soft in the ganache. This attempt was therefore tasty, but not crunchy. The caramel sauce was perfect, no longer brittle, but the ganache tasted like soggy cereal mixed with sirarcha and chocolate. The flavors were right, the textures were off. Attempt number two was meh at best.

So I made it again, this time knowing full well I would have to do the three layers. I don't know why the rice crispies got soft in ganache but not in melted chocolate, but with three layers my treats turned out amazing. I am happy with my ode to Kogi's Sriracha Bar.

However, I also tried to improve it without sacrificing any flavor. I found that dipping the whole thing in chocolate was totally unnecessary. If you want it to look like a Baby Ruth, by all means dip it in chocolate. But I find it to be prettier and with more balanced flavor without it, especially when cut into small squares like a hapa petit four. With the chocolate coating, the fruitiness of the sriracha is diluted and the layers are masked until you bite into it.

Miss Mochi's Sriracha Bar Clone

Crispy Layer:
10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (One bag)
2 cups rice crisp cereal

At first the sugar mixture is colorless
Microwave the chocolate for 1 minutes, then stir and continue microwaving at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the cereal after the chocolate has cooled down a little. Pour into a 8" square pan lined in parchment paper for easy removal. Place in fridge while you make the caramel layer.

Caramel Layer:
1 cup sugar
1 tbs light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
2 tbs unsalted butter
Roasted and salted peanuts, approx 1/2 cup

When caramelized, it will be this color
Heat the cream in a saucepan, with the heat as low as it can go. You just want to warm the cream, not boil it. Alternative, zap in the microwave for like 20 seconds. Meanwhile, combine the water, syrup, and sugar in another saucepan and stir until combined. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar caramelizes, it will turn a golden brown and a candy thermometer will register 350°F. Take off heat, and pour the warm cream into the caramelized sugar mix. It will bubble a lot. Stir in the butter and continue to stir until both the cream and the butter are incorporated. Place in a bowl in the fridge to cool slightly (about ten minutes), then pour over the crispy layer and sprinkle with roasted and salted peanuts. Place into the fridge to cool.

Sriracha Ganache Layer:
5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbs sriracha*
 *Adjust spice to your liking by adding more or less

Heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it boils. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and sriracha in a heatproof bowl, and stir until combined and the chocolate is completely melted. Check the level of spiciness, add more sriracha if needed, and try not to eat it all. Pour over the caramel layer, and smooth the top. Place in the fridge overnight.

Cut into bars or squares depending on your own personal fancy. If you want to dip in melted chocolate, you can do so now, or take my advice and just serve as is.

P.S. I can now make caramel with my eyes closed, by smell alone... that's how many times I made this damn recipe before I was satisfied!

See Also:
Kogi Korean BBQ Truck


  1. I am so glad it worked out! How is your finger? I was worried when you burned it. Those things hurt.


    1. The finger forgave me after a dozen roses and a heart-to-heart. It blistered but is now back to normal.

  2. I'm kind of scared of spicy chocolate . . . but this looks AMAZING. I had no idea that you could bake and cook like this. We need to get together more often!!!

    1. Don't worry, I am not too big a fan of heat. I need like a gallon of Gatorade to eat a bag of hot cheetos, and even then it's hit or miss. This isn't really hot, just adds a little warmth and fruitiness to the chocolate.

  3. Wow! Just as I suspected, you are a genius! I adore caramel, but still struggle with the cold water test. I am determined to one day own an infrared laser candy thermometer ...I've noticed the price on this gadget is becoming affordable.

    1. As you can see, I use a seriously ancient old fashioned candy thermometer that is probably older than me and surreptitiously nicked from my mother's kitchen. She bought me my own for like a dollar and I need to return hers... whoops.

      This can go from freezing to candy making temps, good for meat as well as caramel, which IR laser wouldn't work for both because it only takes surface temperature. I so want one!

  4. Wouldn't it be simpler to add the Sriracha to the cream before heating? It would incorporate faster and evenly.

    1. The only problem with that is that you can't add to taste; you might make it too mild or too spicy (too mild would be easy to fix in the end). You could taste the sriracha and cream mixture, but that doesn't really give you the same ability to judge as the finished ganache would, as the chocolate tames the sriracha a bit.

      Plus, you'd also be boiling the sriracha and I wanted it to be as fresh as possible.

      Honestly the sriracha incorporates really easily in the ganache, I was just super dumb the first time I gave it to my coworkers and barely stirred at all. Subsequent batches had evenly distributed amounts of heat.

      However, feel free to try it your way! Especially once you know how much to add, I don't think the heat would bother the sriracha too much.

    2. I actually changed the steps, I now like to just pour the cream over the sriracha and chocolate.