Are you guys so over my long tongue twister titles?
Gosh, I hope not because I just can’t seem to keep em simple.
I like em long and crazy. Can it just be my thing. Yeah, let’s just make it my thing. I have long titles and I like it.
Oh but wait, before we get to these bars can we just talk about the snow real fast??
I mean real fast.
I just have to say that I SO called it. Sunday I said the next cloudy day we get, it’s gonna snow and what do you know, it snowed yesterday. Yup, real snow. The white stuff. Look and see for your yourself.
I am ready for fall, but snow? No, not at all. I just want to see the pretty leaves, not the white. You know, it’s only September 23rd. What gives?
Oh well, at least I still have a couple of these bars left.
Now, I know this is kind of a lot in one bar, and honestly a lot for a Tuesday post, but I just got so excited about these that I had to share. I made these over the weekend and little by little just kept adding layers… upon layers.
I just wanted to pile them up high. I wanted texture, I wanted sweetness, I wanted a little crunch, a little chew, a little peanut butter and a lot of chocolate.
They are insane.
The only reason the peanut butter cups happened was because I am the world’s biggest sucker for the holiday candies. I am the the worst with Christmas, but Halloween comes in a close second. I am honestly not a candy person, but the second they start putting out the pumpkin Reeses and orange M&M’s I am a done for.
I just cannot help myself.
I love holidays and I love their “themed” foods. It just makes me feel like a kid again.
I surprised myself though and did not give in to the Halloween candy until last week. I blame this mostly on the fact the I no longer take Asher to the grocery store with me since she is a big girl all the sudden and has school all day
While I do love not having to stop every two seconds to tell Asher to stop throwing every last thing into the cart, I have to say I miss my little shopping buddy.
Ok fine, I also miss the excuse to spend a good ten minutes in the Halloween isle. I kind of love that isle the most.
Let’s just talk about the bars already. First you have the cookie layer that is stuffed with peanut butter cups, then there is the cream layer, which I stole from my homemade peanut butter Oreos (so good) and then there is the caramel popcorn. Like I said, they are crazy.
And pretty easy too, just bake the cookies (so easy), beat the cream (even easier) and the make the caramel (pretty simple – promise). The hardest part is waiting for them to set. It’s like torture and I will not blame you if you need to dig in right away.
Cause we totally did. And loved every gooey bite.
- Cookie Layer
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 10-12 Reese's peanut butter cups
- Cream Layer
- 1 sticka (1/2 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Salted Caramel Popcorn
- 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup peanut butter chips or butter scotch chips
- flaked sea salt
- 5 cup poped popcorn
- melt chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
Make the cookie base. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy, about 3 to five minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gradually beat in the flour mixture and the 2 teaspoons of water. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spread half the dough out into the prepared pan, push the Reese into the dough and then drop the remaining dough around the Reese. Smooth out a little (it will not completely cover all the Reese's). Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, just until set in the center. Allow to cool completely before adding the cream layer. I like to stick mine in the freezer for 30 minutes to make this go a little faster.
To make the cream/frosting/ filling layer. In a mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until smooth. Spread the cream over the cooled cookies, the layer will be thin.
To make the popcorn. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil watch closely and whisk until the mixture starts to smell like caramel and turn a golden color, and then to a light brown. This will take about 5-6 minutes. When you see that it has started to turn brown add the butter and slowly pour in the cream, whisking constantly and quickly. Continue to heat over medium-high until mixture has thickened and is a light caramel color, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter or butterscotch chips (I used butterscotch) vanilla and a good pinch of salt, stir until smooth. Add the popcorn to a large bowl and pour the caramel over the popcorn. Toss well and then spread the popcorn over the cream layer, make sure to get out all the caramel out of the bowl! If desired drizzle with melted chocolate and then sprinkle with a good amount of flaked sea salt. Let sit at least 1 hour before cutting or place in the fridge to help them set faster. Then cut into bars!
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag your photo #halfbakedharvest.