Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Caramel Crunch Bars

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. 

Funny enough, these bars have been deemed a 'homemade version' of the ever popular KitKat Bars, but as a *a-hem* professional KitKat connoisseur, I don't think they taste anything like them. In fact, I think they favor more so on the side of a Twix bar, which is equally amazing. Either way, these bars have the satisfying factors of both, but in their own delicious way. The best part about these bars is that no oven is required. 

I'm going to go and enjoy a nice conversation with my buddy Walter while noshing on these, but I implore you make these. 

You'll be happy you did. 

Your thighs may not, but you definitely will. 


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 chips
Sprinkles, 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.