27 November 2012

Homemade Take 5's

Have you every thought that Take 5 bars need more ingredients?  Because I did.  Why stop at five when you can have six?  Pretzels, peanuts, peanut butter, caramel and chocolate just isn't quite enough. So I added marshmallow.  And the hubby rejoiced!  Right before gaining 5 pounds.....

To be honest, I didn't set out to improve upon the classic candy bar.  My goal was to use up the marshmallows in my pantry before they morphed into a glob of sticky gunk.  Now I am not a marshmallow fan at all.  Please help yourself to my share in the world, because I want nothing to do with them.  Obviously, it was going to be up to my incredibly slim husband to take on this bag....after I turned it into something.  So I tailored a treat with all of his favorite things: marshmallow, caramel, pretzels, peanut butter and chocolate.

To our sheer delight, he loved this recipe.  When he asked what was in them, I responded, "Well, they're sort of like a Take 5....." and the name stuck.  He refers to them as Homemade Take 5's so this is what they are.  

Now I know, they are quite different than the Hershey original as they are not dipped in chocolate.  But I am not Willy Wonka.  I have both better things to do and not enough skill to make beautiful, immaculate hand-dipped squares.  (I'm the gal who always opts for rolling truffles in sugar rather than a chocolate coating!)  So I went with a quicker version.  Though they have a different chocolate to sweet/salty ratio, the flavor is still fabulous.

So to quickly recap:  pretzels, peanuts, peanut butter, caramel, chocolate AND marshmallow.  Yes, think I will take a glass of milk with that.

Homemade Take 5's

  • 1 c bittersweet chocolate chips (or 6 oz chopped chocolate)
  • 1 c roughly chopped pretzels
  • 2/3 c roughly chopped peanuts
  • 20 caramel squares
  • 6 oz marshmallows
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/3 c peanut butter 
For easy removal of the bars later, line and 8x8 dish with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a little extra on two of the ends.  Spray the exposed sides with non-stick and set the pan aside.  

Fill a small saucepan with an inch of water and place over medium heat.  Set a round bottomed mixing bowl on the top of the pan to create a double boiler.  This will help the chocolate melt evenly without burning.  Dump the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir until completely melted, about four minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the chocolate into the prepped pan and smooth into an even layer.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to harden.

While the chocolate is cooling, chop the pretzels and peanuts.  Quarter the caramel squares, but keep them separate from the pretzels and peanuts (they are added in later).

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat.  Add the marshmallows and cook, stirring constantly, until they are completely melted.  Stir in the peanut butter, then add the pretzels and peanuts and stir until evenly distributed.  Remove the pan from heat, add in the chopped caramel, and stir until equally distributed.  The mixture will be very, VERY thick, but you can do it!  

Remove cooled chocolate from the refrigerator.  Scoop about half of the marshmallow mixture onto the chocolate.  Using your hands, quickly flatten the mixture with your fingertips. spreading as thinly as possible. (The chocolate will begin to melt when it comes into contact with the warm marshmallow.)  Use the remaining half of the mixture to fill in around the edges, pressing flat as you do so.  Once evenly distributed, press firmly into the chocolate and set aside to cool.

After an hour, the bars will be ready to slice.  Remove from the pan by pulling on the parchment paper ends.  Lift out and place on a cutting board.  Cut into small squares or your favorite shape and serve.  Keep in a cool location for up to a week (if you can!)

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