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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Crunch

When I was a little girl in the 1960's, the Austin public school cafeterias sold an "extra" dessert called Peanut Butter Crunch.  It was my favorite thing they had - the nearest second were the yeast rolls they served almost daily!  I never wondered, at the time, how they were made, I just knew we were all excited when they were available!  However, as I got older, I thought about sisters and I talked about them...everyone who remembered them always ended the conversation with "I sure wish I had the recipe for those". 

In the late 1970's, one of my co-workers brought a tray of them to work one day.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  She said they weren't difficult to make, and I wrote down the recipe.  At the time, I didn't even consider owning a candy thermometer...and my Peanut Butter Crunches never turned out the same.  I even put them in a cook-book we made at work and used a "number of minutes" for the cooking time, instead of a temperature.  One of my co-workers said "hey, I made your recipe and they turned out hard as a rock".  Lesson learned - recipe testing is important!  I got to the point I would not share it with was top secret!  MINE always turned out "pretty much" right because I had gotten the "look" down - but I couldn't communicate that in writing.  And, they weren't 100% consistent.

After time, I became a better cook, and I learned to cook sugar syrups to temperature...or you could end up with rock candy instead of chewy bars!  So, really, if you are going to make this recipe - make sure you have a candy thermometer - it makes all the difference!

I'm sharing this recipe now - because it is my children's favorite dessert - and I want it to be available for them to make themselves.  If you love peanut butter and chewy things - you will love this confection!  I've made them as a bar, I've made them as a drop cookie, and I've made them in mini-muffin pans.  They are good any way you make them.

This would be a wonderful addition to a cookie tray at Christmas, a dessert buffet at Thanksgiving, or individually wrapped for a bake sale.

I hope you love these as much as my family loves them...I can't believe I'm releasing my recipe friends will laugh, because I've kept it so secret after the private cook-book debacle! (although I'm sure you can Google it and it's in a dozen different places!)


1 cup light Karo syrup (store brand corn syrup has worked fine for me as well)
1 cup granulated white sugar
12 oz. creamy peanut butter (I prefer Peter Pan or Jif - and I've tried all brands)
5 cups Kellogg's Corn Flakes (again, I've tried store brands - these just work best)

In a pan large enough to hold the final product completely, mix the corn syrup and granulated sugar together and bring to a boil over a medium heat.  Cook until candy thermometer reaches 210 to 220 degrees F.  - stirring frequently - be very careful not to splatter or touch the hot liquid with your fingers!
Remove from heat as soon as it hits 210 degrees, and carefully stir in the peanut butter until smooth.  Add five cups of corn flakes and fold until well-coated - reaching to the bottom of the pan and folding the sauce over the flakes.  It's industrious work - but the payoff is great :-)  Don't worry if you hear the flakes crunching a bit.
Spread in 9x13 pan, pressing into corners, and smoothing the top.  May spoon into mini muffin pans or drop onto wax paper coated cookie sheet using a medium cookie scoop for easy mounding.  Allow to cool at least 2 hours at room temperature. (I'm laughing as I write that - I finished these last night and within 30 minutes 3 people had cut pieces out of the pan....two hours...riigghhhtt!
Recipe doubles very well!  I made two pans last night.  Gotta say, they are pretty darn awesome!

Scooped into a mini muffin pan for individual servings

I've decorated them a variety of ways - put some holiday sugar on them while still warm, I've drizzled chocolate across them - my kids really just prefer them without any enhancements.  That speaks well of a good dessert.  It's chewy and gooey and I've never had anyone say they didn't like them (if they like peanut butter).

Hope you enjoy this - and, as always, Bon Appetit Y'all!StumbleUpon

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