August 31, 2012

Take 5 Bars

I wish I could call these something other than Take 5 bars, since I'm not even sure if I've had a Take 5 candy bar. But what else to call them? Peanut butter pretzel bars with peanuts, caramel, and chocolate? So, Take 5 it is. I have no idea if these resemble Take 5 candy bars, but they are so tasty.

Take 5 Bars
adapted from Pixel-Whisk

3 cups small pretzels
1 cup peanut butter (natural works fine)
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt flakes or crushed pretzels for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels, peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar until the pretzels are crushed into small bits and the mixture clumps together. OR crush the pretzels in a ziploc bag using a rolling pin and stir into the peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl. Press firmly into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.

In a saucepan over medium hear, stir remaining 1 cup of sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil sugar for about 5 minutes, or until the color begins to darken. Swirl caramelized sugar to mix and continue to cook until it's a medium amber color. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream (it will bubble violently, so stir carefully) and vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Pour caramel over the pretzel crust, then top with chopped peanuts. Lastly, cover all the peanuts with the chocolate chips and bake for 10 minutes.

Use an offset spatula or knife to smooth out the chocolate chips while they're still warm and top with sea salt or crushed pretzels. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or until chocolate hardens. Slice into bars and serve.

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