March 25, 2011 by Flora Dawn
When I was flipping through the pages of the April Everyday Foods issue, one recipe really got my attention: Salted Peanut Bars. Maybe it was the title or the photo of hot, bubbling caramel spreading over a pan of peanuts, I don’t know; but I did know I must try this recipe.
These bars taste and look a lot like the center of a Baby Ruth candy bar. They are super gooey and probably not something your dentist or orthodontist would love you eating. But that’s why we have floss and toothbrushes right?
With only three ingredients (and some water), this recipe is really simple to make. Truthfully, it takes more time and effort to clean up afterwards than it does to make these.
Although they are really good as written, I decided they tasted so much like a candy bar that I decided to add a hint of chocolate on top. I heated up some homemade hot fudge sauce and drizzled it over the top (melted chocolate chips would work too).
I must admit I didn’t really read the original recipe too closely and so I didn’t actually chop the peanuts. This didn’t seem to make much of a difference in the final product, but I think next time I’ll coarsely chop them. I also threw them on a plate covered in plastic wrap, which was a big mistake. They are really soft and sticky so they stuck to the plate. I really think storing them between sheets of parchment or foil is a must!
Also, I love the peanut & caramel combination, but really, you could substitute a tree nut, like almonds or pecans, if you prefer; you would just want to make sure they were lightly salted so the sweet/salty flavor was still there.
Caramel Peanut Bars
- 2 1/4 cups lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped, divided
- 50 caramel candies, unwrapped (14 ounces)
- 1 cup mini marshmallows
- 1 TB water
- Line an 8-in square pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving at least a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick spray. Cover bottom of lined dish with 1 1/4 cups peanuts.
- In a medium saucepan, combine caramels, marshmallows and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Immediately pour over peanuts and then top with remaining peanuts. Allow to cool completely to set, about 2 hours. Remove from pan and cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container/bag with parchment paper between them.