It is an absolute scorcher outside today. Like, fry-an-egg-on-the-pavement kind of day. It's also the kind of day that is perfect to sit on a dock, under a big oak tree and dip my toes into the bustling river, speaking to me in a way only I can understand.
Well, that is if I had a dock. Or a big oak tree. Or lived by a river. I'm quite fluent in river language, so that part is actually a shame.
Instead, I'm improvising by sitting on the deck, under my purple lilac bush, with my feet being soaked by our Walter the Whale sprinkler. In tow is a cold glass of iced tea and these lush Caramel Crunch Bars.
You'll be happy you did.
Your thighs may not, but you definitely will.
CARAMEL CRUNCH BARS
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's Best Desserts Magazine
Club Crackers or Toppables Crackers (in Canada), about 2 sleeves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup milk
⅓ cup sugar
⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chocolate chipsSprinkles, if desired
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with foil, leaving some hanging over the sides. This will help with removal upon cutting.
Line the foil with one layer of club crackers. Don't worry if they don't line up or are are a imperfect. Any flaws will be covered.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk, and sugar. Bring mixture to a bubbling boil and allow to bubble for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and spread half of the butter mixture evenly over crackers, using an offset spatula to help smooth over. Place another single layer of crackers evenly over the butter mixture. Spread remaining butter mixture evenly over crackers, again, using an offset spatula to coat evenly. Add a third layer of crackers over top.
In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips and melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. You can also use the microwave to melt the chocolate, just be sure to use a microwaveable-safe dish and stir after 30 second intervals.
Spread chocolate evenly over top of crackers, using an offset spatula to smooth over. Add sprinkles at this time, if desired.
Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Remove from fridge and allow chocolate to rest for a minute or so before cutting. This will help avoid breaks in chocolate as it's being cut. I used a pizza cutter to create uniform lines.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.