Monday, July 2, 2012

Butterfinger caramel bars

They say when it rains, it pours.  That seems to be the case around here lately because I can't get my mind off candy bars.  Can't and won't, to be clear.  And now, my obsession has turned to Butterfingers.

It's no secret that I love candy.  Ask any one of my coworkers about the kind of damage I do when it comes to the office candy bowl.  But it seems like I've been craving the stuff more frequently lately.   After dinner, rather than a cookie or piece of cake, I'm just as happy with a small piece (or four) of candy.  Anything to avoid turning on the oven and feeling uncomfortably full, right?

As much as I love turning out fantastic cakes, pies, and cookies, I shy away from the oven come summer.  Even with A/C, it's still a chore to keep our apartment cool when the outside temps hover above 95 for a week straight.  Just to be clear, I'm not complaining because it's been muuuuuuch worse in parts of the midwest and south.  Not complaining, just saying.

But, hot is still hot, folks.  Last Friday, Matt and I went to dinner with friends, and let's just say that restaurant's cooling system was seriously struggling, too.  The food (crab cakes!), the drinks (Sam Adams Summer Ale!), and the company were fabulous, but there's something about sticking to your seat despite wearing your cutest summer dress that keeps you from wanting to linger late into the night.

When we got home, I realized I still had to make dessert for the next day but didn't stress one bit because the recipe on deck was both easy and heat-free.  Sometimes, I swear I can see into the future when planning out my cooking and baking.  And I love myself for it.  I may have even applauded myself.  So what? :)

I must admit that before assembly I was wondering who on earth would come up with a combination of graham crackers, caramel, marshmallows and Butterfingers.  Was she crazy?  Or just brilliant?  But, during assembly, the answer became clear:

Pretty (bleeping) brilliant!

Oh my sweet Lord of all that is good in the universe.  May I please gush excessively about these bars?

What'd you say?  Forgive me for not listening.  I couldn't hear you over the crunching and chewing.  I was having a religious Butterfinger moment.

You might be tempted to think these are too rich, but don't, okay?  Somehow, maybe it's a miracle, these layered bars totally hit the sweet spot and manage to remain on the lighter side.  The graham cracker base stays fresh and crunchy, and the marshmallows and caramel are light as air.  And the chopped Butterfingers are, dare I say it, better than their whole candy bar form!  The simple drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate ties it all together into one delicious, albeit sticky, package.

So delicious is it that if you blink, it's gone.  The only trace being little caramel streaks on your plate.  Until you use your spoon to scrape said caramel off for eating.  Ahem.

I bet you never thought I'd be championing a recipe that is a little on the messy side (as you can see below).  But, here's the thing about me that you probably do know -- I love to find the silver lining of any situation.  And, as you could guess, there is silver lining among this sticky crumby delicious mess that goes beyond just a fantastically satisfying no-bake dessert. 

Ready for it?  Here goes:

Rather than washing your sticky fingers after enjoying a Butterfinger caramel bar, why not just skip the suds and have another?  You're not going to be able to stop at one, so you might as well save some soap and water in the process.

This has been your daily going green tip.  You can thank me later, friends.  Nothing says "thank you" quite like a sticky handshake :)

One year ago: Scrambled eggs, avocado, and smoked salmon toasts
Two years ago: Peanut shrimp and vegetables

Butterfinger Caramel Bars
(adapted from Cookies and Cups, who adapted it from Kraft)
-makes 16 bar cookies

A few notes: If you want to double this recipe to feed a bigger crowd, simpl ue a 9x13-inch pan and double the quantities of ingredients.  Easy!

6 graham cracker sheets
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 11-ounce bag caramel bits (or wrapped squares)
2 Tablespoons milk
10 ounces Butterfinger pieces, bits or whole candy bars chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, for drizzling

Line an 8x8inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to hang over the edge for easy removal.  Spray paper with cooking spray.  Place graham crackers on bottom of the pan, breaking to evenly fit.  Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over graham crackers.

Melt caramel and milk together in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir and continue heating in 30 second intervals until melted.  Pour caramel over the marshmallows and gently spread until evenly coated. The marshmallows will melt slightly, which is fine. Make sure to coat evenly so the caramel sticks to the graham crackers.

Sprinkle chopped Butterfinger on top and and press the candies into the caramel/marshmallow mix.  Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high power in 30 second intervals until melted. Drizzle semi-sweet chocolate on top of Butterfinger. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour or until set

Cut into bars when ready to serve. Store and serve bars at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.

1 comment:

  1. Does raiding your own candy bowl count against your allocated cap space for work's candy bowl?