Monday, April 29, 2013

One Great . . . sweet treat

Rushing around to get  ready for my annual church women's retreat in the mountains, I was running down the list of preparation: Extra wine (check). Sloppy clothes (check). Something to do while everyone else knits (check).

Something sweet to share . . . uh oh. And I certainly didn't have enough time to do anything elaborate. I grabbed a recipe I had seen recently on the website Serious Eats, originally taken from a blog called Shugary Sweets: Caramel Cracker Bars. I had all the ingredients on hand, it took next to no time to make, and it had all the requirements for sharing: Sweet, salty and chocolatey.

With a couple of modifications to make the directions clearer, I had something to take -- and a keeper recipe.

Caramel Cracker Bars
Adapted from

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk (nonfat worked fine)
About 3 tubes Ritz crackers (about 80; Townhouse would work too)
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup peanut butter

Line a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with foil. Coat lightly with about 1 tablespoon butter (or nonstick cooking spray). Place a single layer of crackers on the bottom, not overlapping. (It's OK if there's a little space between them.) Set aside.

Melt 1 cup butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, brown and granulated sugar and milk. Heat, stirring occasionally, until it's bubbling around the sides. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 1 minute.

Pour half of the caramel mixture over the crackers in the prepared dish and spread evenly with the back of a wooden spoon. Top with another layer of crackers and the second half of the caramel mixture. Top with a third layer of crackers. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Combine the butterscotch and semisweet morsels and the peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring, until smooth. Remove caramel and cracker base from the refrigerator. Pour the melted chocolate over the top, smoothing to cover completely. Chill 4 hours or overnight before cutting.

YIELD:  About 40 small squares.