Vegan & Gluten Free Butterfinger Bars

There is a warm Springtime sunshine flooding our California yard and covering hillsides with vibrant orange poppies and tiny yellow blooms, it's telling me there are new and exciting delicious desserts on the horizon.
To commemorate the celebration of Chocolate Peanut Butter Day (also referred to in our household as "The Most Delicious Day"), and my new passion for homemade peanut butter, these "Butterfinger Bars" were the first of many lucky recipes to feature the nutty, sweet, freshly ground peanuts that have been gracing our kitchen the past couple weeks.
Our passion for all things peanut butter and chocolate is constantly growing, each peanut butter chocolate dessert presented to our bellies leads us to grow fonder and more appreciative of the Heaven-sent combination. 
I have made this recipe a few times now, each time experimenting with a different type of rice or bran cereal for the irresistible *crunch,* and each time loving every moment of eating it.
The last time I made this recipe, I used some fresh, homemade peanut butter, which yielded a much nuttier flavor, and all the same rich, almost caramel-like, sweetness as every other time. 
Just splendid.

Vegan & Gluten Free Butterfinger Bars
makes 8-12 candy bars

-1/4 cup maple syrup

-1 Tablespoon molasses
-1/4 cup coconut sugar
-1 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 1/2 cups rice crispy cereal, crushed
-dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

chocolate coating

-1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper, or thoroughly grease pan.

2. Combine maple syrup, molasses, and coconut sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to boil for one minute, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and add peanut butter. Mix until it comes together in a paste.
3. Add the cereal and salt, thoroughly combine and press into prepared pan. Freeze to firm up, while freezing, melt chocolate in double boiler over low heat (or a heat-safe glass bowl over a saucepan with an inch of boiling water) stir constantly.
4. Remove bars from freezer and spread with chocolate, refrigerate until chocolate hardens then cut into pieces. 

adapted from this recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie
I do not own or claim any rights or credit for Butterfinger bars, these are an interpreted [slightly healthier] version of the well-known candy bar.
optional substitutions...
-coconut sugar: organic white sugar, brown sugar
-rice crispy cereal: any corn, bran, or rice flake cereal

Mangia! Mangia!