No Bake Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

Chocolate Pretzel Bars

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I haven’t made a dessert like this in a while and it was DELICIOUS!!!  I’m guessing David liked it, too, since he ate three bars at one sitting.  No, it’s not gluten free.  But it was worth every bite.  You’re going to want to make this – as soon as possible.

By the way, I just call it the Chocolate Pretzel Dessert.  It’s easier.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • ¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 cups broken, small pretzel twists
  • 2 cups (12 oz. package) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Line 13×9 pan with foil leaving overhang on two sides. (1)  Lightly spray with pam.

Beat 1-1/4 cups peanut butter and butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in 1 cup powdered sugar.  Stir in remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 cups pretzel pieces and ½ cup morsels.  Press evenly in prepared baking pan.  Smooth top with spatula.

Microwave remaining 1-1/2 cup morsels and ¾ cup peanut butter in medium, uncovered bowl on medium high (70%) for 45 seconds.  Stir.  If necessary, microwave at additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

Spread chocolate layer evenly over powdered sugar mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining pretzel pieces, pressing down lightly.  (2) Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm.

Notes:

(1)     I did not do this.  I put them directly in the pan.

(2)     After about 30 minutes in the refrigerator, I cut the dessert into bars.  I’ve discovered that when desserts have a chocolate top, sometimes when you cut them after they’ve hardened, the top breaks.  So I like to cut them before the topping gets too hard.  When you re-cut later, it’s a LOT easier.

from verybestbaking.com (Nestle)

No Bake Crispy Pretzel Bars

Crispy Pretzel Bars

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I wasn’t sure I would like this since I’m not a big fan of pretzels but I was pretty sure my family would.  And they did.  But I liked it, too.  I didn’t really taste the pretzels especially with all the other goodies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 5 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup plain M&M’s

Directions:

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar and corn syrup.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in peanut butter until blended.  Add the cereal, pretzels and M&M’s; stir until coated.  Press into a greased 15x10x1 pan.  Cut into bars.  Yield about 5 dozen.

Notes:

  • I broke the pretzel sticks into smaller pieces.
  • You’ll get 5 dozen if you cut them really tiny which I didn’t.  I cut half of the pan into smaller pieces and the other half into bigger pieces so I ended up with 12 big pieces and 24 smaller pieces.

from Quick Cooking Magazine

No Bake Milky Way Cheesecake

No Bake Milky Way Cheesecake

No bake.  Easy.  Milky Way candy bars.  Cream cheese.  Do I need to say more?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 5 Milky Way candy bars, sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Whipped topping
  • Fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries (optional)

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the milk and gelatin; let stand for 1 minute.  Add the candy bars; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted and gelatin is dissolved.  Cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the wafer crumbs and butter.  Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and cream.  Beat on high speed 4 minutes.  Pour into prepared crust.

Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen.  Remove sides of pan.  Garnish with whipped topping and berries.  Yield:  8 to 10 servings

No Bake Milky Way Cheesecake 2

Notes:

If you’re not familiar with unflavored gelatin, you can find it with the boxes of jello mix.  The brand I purchased was made by Knox.  You cannot substitute flavored gelatin.

I used one sleeve of chocolate graham crackers for the crust.  You can use any type of chocolate cookie – it really doesn’t matter.

No Bake Milky Way Cheesecake 3

I hate using a springform pan so I used my deep dish pie plate instead.  It was full but it worked.   Since this is a no bake, pretty much any comparable dish will work.  It looks prettier in a springform pan, but like I said, I hate using that type of pan.

I used 8 ounces of cool whip spread over the top of the cheesecake and topped it with a chopped up milky way candy bar.  My family thought that was too much cool whip.  So next time, I’ll spread a thin layer of cool whip instead of using the whole container.

In case you’re wondering whether this pie was really rich, it wasn’t.  It was perfect – except for too much cool whip which wasn’t a problem for me since my granddaughter ate off all the cool whip and candy bar garnish and left me with the chocolate filling.

adapted from Quick Cooking Magazine, March/April 2002

Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bars

Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bars

Awesome.  Amazing.  Delicious.  This Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bar recipe was out of this world!  I’ll admit I was skeptical.  Soda crackers as the base?  That just didn’t sound like it would be good.  But this dessert was amazing.  You might want to think about making it for Christmas.  It’s easy and awesome.  The only problem is that you can’t just eat one.  I can usually take or leave dessert but these were irresistable.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon plus ¾ cup margarine, cubed
  • 45 Club crackers (2-1/2 inch x 1 inch)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil and grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter.  Arrange a single layer of crackers in the pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and remaining butter.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to maintain a low boil; cook and stir for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Evenly spread a third of the mixture over the crackers.  Repeat cracker and caramel layers twice.

Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel; let stand 3-5 minutes or until glossy.  Spread over top.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chocolate is set.  Using foil, lift layers out of pan; cut into 3-inch x 1 inch bars.  Makes 27 bars.

Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bars - uncut

 Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bars - underside view

Chocolate Caramel Cracker Bars 2

NOTES:

  • I sprayed the foil with Pam instead of greasing it with butter.
  • I never have great luck making caramel and I was sure I had ruined this batch.  The butter didn’t blend very well so I was worried I messed it up.  I stirred the mixture before I poured it onto the layers and it turned out fine.
  • The crackers don’t fit perfectly into the 9×9 pan so when you get to the edge, just trim them to fit. They don’t have to be perfect.
  • And when you’re cutting them, you don’t have to follow the cracker lines.

from Taste of Home Magazine, August/September 2012

Fudgy Buttons

If you need something sweet QUICK, these Fudgy Buttons are just the ticket.  They really are quick and easy and use ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
  • ½ teaspoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Directions:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter; remove from heat.

Add cocoa and mix well.   Stir in sugar.  Add milk and stir until smooth.  Add peanut butter and mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper; flatten the tops and shape into 1-inch patties.

Yield:  about 1-1/2 dozen

NOTE:  I doubled the recipe.

I also found that my kitchen was too warm for the fudgy buttons to set properly so I put them in the freezer.  I actually LOVED them that way.  When I took them out at serving time, they were firm but not hard.  That means you could make these and put freeze them for a week or two (if they lasted that long!).  I also think they would be good chopped up and put in vanilla ice cream.  Actually, there are probably a lot of things the fudgy buttons could be used for besides just plain eating!

recipe from Quick Cooking Premier Issue 

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You might also like:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Puddingwiches
No-Bake Cereal Bars

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Crispy Rice and Peanut Butter Squares

Crispy Rice and Peanut Butter Squares

I needed a quick dessert one day and found this recipe on the rice crispy cereal box.  I made a slight modification and we have a winner!  This recipe was fast, easy and delicious.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips*
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips*
  • 2-1/2 cups rice crispy cereal

Directions:

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.  Combine corn syrup and sugars in medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture just comes to a boil, stirring frequently (don’t over boil or the bars will be dry – when the edges are bubbly, you’re done).  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter until smooth.  Quickly add cereal, chocolate chips* and white chocolate chips*, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated.  Press into prepared pan with back of buttered spoon.  Cool.  Cut into squares.  Store in airtight container.

*I’ve made this twice and both times I added the chocolate and white chocolate chips.  I haven’t made it yet as written and probably won’t.  My family thought it sounded bland without the extra chocolate.  But that’s just us.  If you try it as written, let me know how it turns out.

Also, you can use whatever flavors of chips you want. I used that particular combination because it was what I had in the baking drawer.

No-Bake Cereal Bars

If you need a last-minute dessert to take to your Memorial Day get together but don’t have much time, here’s the recipe you need!  These bars use cereal, peanuts, peanut butter and M&M’s.  When I made them I didn’t have enough M&M’s, so I just used an assortment of chocolate from my baking drawer.  You could probably do some substitutions with the cereal, too – if you needed to.  This is one of those recipes that lends itself well to mixing and matching.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cheerios
  • 2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups M&M’s (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl (you really do need a large bowl), combine the first four ingredients; set aside.  In a large saucepan, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil.  Cook and stir just until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat; stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat evenly.  Spread into a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan.  Cool.  Cut into square bars.  YIELD:  15 bars.

from Taste of Home Tailgate Cookbook, Fall 2006