Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One Great . . . potluck treat

You think you get embarrassed when a recipe doesn't work as expected?

I was delighted when my family's last name landed on the dessert list at our neighborhood block party. We're   lucky to leave in a suburb where the neighbors gather for a big party every year. And this time, I had a dessert recipe I wanted to try, a bar cookie version of one of my favorite candy bars, the sweet and salty Payday.

I put the recipe together that afternoon, then left it on the counter to cool while I grabbed a nap. Too bad the original recipe didn't suggest refrigerating it before you cut it. When I heard the party getting started outside, I  grabbed a knife to slice my bars - and found the marshmallow topping was still as soft as soup. I had to shove the pan  in the refrigerator and leave the house empty-handed.

A day later, the bars were ready and my marshmallow-crazy co-workers loved them. But I still owe an apology to my neighbors.

Payday Bars
1 (18.5-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
2/3 cup butter, melted
1 (10.5-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup salted peanuts

HEAT oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry cake mix with egg and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 13-by-9-inch pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
LAYER the marshmallows on the hot crust and return the pan to the oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until the marshmallows are lightly brown. They'll be puffy but they'll still look bumpy, like the marshmallows they were. Press down on them a little with the flat side of a spatula.
MELT the peanut butter chips with the butter, corn syrup and vanilla in a small saucepan. Drizzle over the marshmallows, covering them as much as possible. Sprinkle with the peanuts while warm.
REFRIGERATE until firm and topping is set. Cut into small squares.
YIELD: About 3 dozen.