Thursday, March 3, 2011

Knock off Treats!

So, I love my pre-packaged goodies as much as the next guy. But what I love more than my cheap, partially-hydrogenated, sugary treats is being able to make them at home with *somewhat* wholesome ingredients. The following recipes are by no means healthy, but they are made with regular sugar, regular butter and regular chocolate. They are NOT shelf stable(not just because they get eaten too quickly to find out) and they are NOT cheaper than buying them at the store. But they are delicious and worth the time and effort.
This first treat, Salted Nut-Roll Bars, are the epitome of sweet and salty. They are chewy and a little bit gooey in all the right ways. I always think of these bars when I'm feeling snacky but can't quite nail down what I'm craving. They are incredibly easy.

Salted Nut-Roll Bars
1 lb. peanut butter sandwich cookies (if I was on the Food Network I couldn't just say Nutter Butters, but no one's watching here..)
1/2 C butter, melted

2 C peanut butter chips
2/3 C light corn syrup (as a side note, I always look for this in the baking aisle and every damn time it's by the maple syrup. I think that's weird.)
4 T butter
1 t vanilla
2 C mini marshmallows
2 C dry roast peanuts
2 C Rice Krispies

Heat your oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan.
Dump Nutter Butters in the food processor or blender. Once you have fine crumbs, add that stick of melted butter and turn your machine of choice back on until it kinda clumps together. Press it into the pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Put peanut butter chips, corn syrup, vanilla and the other butter into a saucepan and melt it down until it's smooth. You'll want to stir it often and stick around, it should only take about five minutes.
Spread half of this mixture over the crumb crust you've pulled out of the oven, sprinkle the marshmallows over it, and put it back in the oven for two minutes or so. You just want the marshmallows to get a little puffy up. Don't let them brown or they'll be tough and crunchy!
Toss the peanuts, cereal and remaining peanut mixture together and spoon it over the marshmallow topped crust. Spread it a little with a spatula. It doesn't need to (and will not) look perfect. It's not going to be a uniform looking bar.
Let the bars cool, then dig in! You may need to coat your knife with non-stick spray before cutting in.. Unless you like to live dangerously and lick stuff off your knives. I don't recommend that though....

The second knock off treat I loooove is the Samoa cookie. Now, don't go replacing your girl scouts with this one. This is only to get you by between cookie sales. It's tough to go an entire year without girl scout cookies!
These can be made two ways: you can make them in a sheet like a bar cookie, or individually cut out every little circle and cut another tiny little hole in each of those. I personally don't care what they look like, as long as they taste similar. So here's the bar version (much easier!)

Samoas (or caramel delites)
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C butter, room temp
1 egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 C flour
1/4 t salt

3 C shredded coconut
12-oz caramels
1/4 t salt
3 T milk
10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate-chocolate chips work!

Turn your oven on to 350.
Spread the coconut out onto a cookie sheet and bake five minutes at a time until it's toasty brown. Mine only took 10 minutes.
Cream the butter and the sugar until light in color and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, until just incorporated. Then add the salt and flour a little at a time until it's all blended in. The dough will still be crumby, that's ok. Press it into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake it for 20-25 minutes.
Make your topping by microwaving your caramels and milk and salt until smooth. Dump the toasted coconut in and stir until combined.
After your crust has cooled, spread the coconut caramel mix over it. Make sure you've timed it so the caramel stuff has just come out of the microwave, and is still hot. It's going to be a pain in the ass to spread if it's cool. Even if the cookie crust is hot. It just won't work. Trust me.
After you've assembled it all and it's cooled, melt down your chocolate and drizzle it over the top. If you want chocolately bottoms (like the real deal), dip the bottoms in chocolate after you've cut them all up.
And if you know any girl scouts.... tell them sorry!


Jen Lee said...

So last time I was at the grocery store I wandered up and down the aisles searching for corn syrup for 15 minutes before finally asking a worker where it was. They looked at me with a blank stare and said "uh, with the syrup." Sure enough one of the headers above said syrup. I agree with you~ I think it should be with the baking.