Two things have recently come to my attention:
1) I haven’t actually shared a recipe with you in about a month
2) My last few posts haven’t had very much (if anything) chocolate in them
I simply cannot permit this situation to continue. This recipe not only rectifies both issues but it satisfies every craving for sweet, gooey, chocolaty goodness that I’ve had lately. Not to be completely immodest, but these little bars are positively to die for. And I’m not the only one to hold this belief – they vanished in under a day at the office and every single person gave them a rave review.
I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, grab the recipe here and let’s get baking…
First things first. Let’s get our oven preheated and our pan prepped, then we can get to the fun stuff!
For making a crumb crust, I absolutely love my food processor. I can use it to pulverize the cookies and crackers and to mix the melted butter (and peanut butter for this recipe) right into the crumbs; no additional bowls or utensils necessary. So let’s go ahead and do just that.
This crust is a bit moister than your typical graham cracker crust and should press quite easily into the bottom of our prepared pan. We’ll want to be careful not to compress the crust too much or it will be hard to cut (and bite!) through. We’re going to pre-bake this just slightly so let’s get it in the oven for about 4 minutes or so.
While our crust is baking, and then cooling we can get our candy bars coarsely chopped. I went with Twix, Milky Way, Milky Way Midnight, Snickers, Butterfinger, and Peanut butter cups for mine but you could use just about anything that strikes your fancy here. I’m thinking that chocolate covered and/or peanut butter filled pretzels would make a great addition to this.
We’re also going to bring our sweetened condensed milk mixture together at this point. Let’s get the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and peanut butter into a bowl. It make take a little while to get the peanut butter incorparated, but it will make a nice smooth mixture…
To which we add our mini chocolate chips before setting it aside.
This is a good point to warm up our caramel topping. We want it to be soft enough to pour, but not so warm that it is going to melt all the candy before we even get it in the oven. Let’s start with 30 seconds in the microwave and then add 10 seconds at a time until it is pourable.
Our crust should now be cooled enough, so let’s distribute the chopped candy evenly over the top. As you can see, it will completely cover the crust.
Now we are going to pour our softened caramel evenly over the top of the candy. I would recommend that you keep the caramel a little further from the edges than I did here. Any caramel that escapes to the surface during baking is going to continue to caramelize becoming rather like a hard candy as it cools.
Last, but not least, we need to spoon the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the top of everything else. We want this layer to cover the caramel underneath as completely as possible so let’s make sure we get it all the way to the edge.
That’s it, deposit the pan in our preheated over for 25-27 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. When we take it out, we’ll want to let it cool completely before attempting to cut it. I found that if you can stand to wait, about an hour in the refrigerator makes cutting a bit easier as well (less of the gooey fillings will stick to your knife)
And now it is time to eat. If you are at all like me, these will challenge your will power and you may find yourself giving into the lure of the gooey caramel, sweet candy bits and creamy peanut butter all tied together with bits of chocolate.
Just look at them…how can you resist?