This week’s recipe is Peanut Butterscotch Bits, another entry from the Peanut Butter chapter of Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook. The mix of flavors is pretty great, but the overall recipe still wasn’t a big hit in our house. Read on for Barbie’s recipe and my ideas on how to adjust it.
Peanut Butterscotch Bits
- 2 1/2 cups corn flakes
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bits
- 6 ounces butterscotch bits
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- salt (optional)
Measure out the cornflakes and then crush them slightly with either your hands or the back of the measuring cup. The idea here is to break them up without crumbling them completely.
Put a couple of inches of water in a medium saucepan, and then set a medium, heat-resistant bowl on top of the pan, making sure that it fits snugly and doesn’t touch the water. Bring the water to a low simmer and then add the butterscotch bits and chocolate. Stir the pieces while heating, and take the bowl off the heat as soon as you have a melty, mostly even mix.
Set the bowl on a trivet or other heat-resistant surface, and add the peanut butter (and the salt, if you’re using it). Then add the corn flakes and stir just long enough to coat them.
Drop teaspoonfuls of this mixture on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and let stand until the pieces have mostly hardened, at least 3 hours. Transfer into a tightly sealed container with parchment paper between the layers, and store in a cool, dark place.
Makes 25 – 30 depending on size.
-Adapted from Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook
I’ve never melted butterscotch before, so I wasn’t prepared for the fact that it melts slower and needs more stirring than chocolate. And towards the end of the process, the mixture was so pretty and shiny that I was starting to worry I’d overheat it while getting those last butterscotch bits melted in. I took my mixing bowl off the heat while there were still a few discernible smooshes of butterscotch, and thankfully the residual heat finished melting those as I stirred in the peanut butter.
Given that Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook doesn’t really do head notes for its recipes, I’m not entirely sure that the Peanut Butterscotch Bits I ended up with were the desired result. The instructions were simple enough, but Barbie said that these should take about two hours to “harden.” And mine, even a day later, are still soft enough to bend and stick to your fingers.
- Stir the butterscotch and chocolate mix frequently while it’s on the stove. Butterscotch holds its shape while heating, so stirring helps break it down and mix it into the chocolate. You also need to do all this over a gentle simmer so that the chocolate doesn’t overheat.
- Whenever using a double boiler setup, make sure that the upper bowl fits in the pot without any gaps around the rim. You should also avoid boiling the water. Getting even a small amount of water (through steam, condensation, etc.) in melting chocolate will lead to a hard, gritty texture.
- The original Easy-As-Pie Peanut Butterscotch Bits don’t include salt, but I’ve made enough of Barbie’s desserts and drinks by now to know that that chick has a sweet tooth. I put a pinch of salt in the mixture to give it more of a grown-up flavor, and I also sprinkled some Maldon sea salt flakes over the bites after spooning them out. Flaked salt is my favorite finishing move on everything from dessert to steaks to bread, and in this recipe, it didn’t disappoint.
I liked the overall flavor, but I doubt I’ll make these again. My husband didn’t care for the jagged corn flake texture, and while I thought that part was fine, I wasn’t a fan of how sticky they were. These Bits would be a deceptive thing to have at a party too, because they look like something you can just grab with your fingers. And you sure can do that, but then you’ll need to excuse yourself to go wash your hands.
The mixture was a lot stiffer before adding the peanut butter, so my biggest suggestion for firmer Bits is to use a little less of that. The weather has also been warm and humid lately, so making these during a cold, dry spell is likely to be more successful. They’ll also harden more if refrigerated, but storing chocolate-based treats in the fridge can wreck their flavor if they’re exposed to condensation.
My guess is that it would only take another experimental batch or two to tweak this recipe for the conditions in my area, but we didn’t love Barbie’s Bites enough to make the effort. Sorry, Barbie.