Who here loves Take 5? I love Take 5. It is my favorite candy ever. Every Halloween I get about three Take 5 bars and steal about two more from my friends, then hoard them for the next month. And it’s really sad because then I eat them and I have none left.
What’s not to love…caramel, pretzels, peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate, all wrapped up into one bar? There is no other candy more perfect.
When I found out the Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge ingredients were caramel and pretzels, I knew Take 5 had to be involved. So these happened…
Consisting of: crushed pretzel crust, peanuts, peanut butter cookie, butterscotch sauce, and chocolate ganache.
Good thing I went running today.
For the crust, crush pretzels in a food processor to make 1 cup, combine with butter (or applesauce for the classic Dru lower-fat version) and 1/2 tsp salt, and press into the bottom of your pan.
Then sprinkle 1/2 cup salted peanuts all over the crust.
For the inside, I used my trusty soft peanut butter cookie recipe, and pressed it on top of the peanuts. You will only need half of it, so make cookies with the rest! Or a cookie pie, another of my go-to recipes.
That was the easiest part of the recipe. This is a decadent one. Get out your party pants.
Because now we get to make the butterscotch sauce! Yay! Did you know butterscotch is almost the same as caramel, except with brown sugar instead of white? The recipe I used also has a little more heavy cream. Making butterscotch was less difficult than making caramel, and definitely worth it, but you can always substitute storebought butterscotch or caramel.
It will get very bubbly…
And then smooth out. Pour this all over the baked and cooled cookie layer, then make the chocolate ganache, and pour it on top.
Refrigerate the bars at least thirty minutes before cutting them to ensure the ganache and caramel firm up. I refrigerated mine overnight and they were perfect in the morning.
I love you, Take 5.
Caramel Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
- 1 cup crushed pretzels
- 5 tbs melted butter or applesauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and press into the bottom of a greased 8×8 pan.
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts
Sprinkle over crust.
Peanut Butter Cookie
- Recipe Here
Prepare cookie dough. Spread half of it over the crust. (Make cookies with the other half!) Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie are golden. It will look undercooked. Allow to cool completely.
Butterscotch Sauce from Brown Eyed Baker
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Alternatively: Homemade Salted Caramel or storebought butterscotch sauce or caramel
Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add sugar, cream, and salt, and stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool five minutes, then pour over cooled bars.
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir, then microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Add heavy cream and whisk to combine. Pour over bars.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
If you can’t ever find Take 5 candy bars, like me, this dessert is a very worthy substitute. My favorite part of the candy bar was always the saltiness that the pretzel brought to contrast the sweetness of everything else, so I definitely wanted to capture that in this recipe. I also like how the crunchiness of the peanuts stands out against the smooth texture of the cookie, butterscotch, and ganache. The separate steps and layers were really fun to make, but there are several substitutions possible for this recipe and any other layer bars. When I make these again, I’ll take about five. LOL, get it? Okay, enough corny jokes from me. Even my mom, the dessert-hater, fell head over heels in love with these bars. So prepare yourself.
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