I’m calling these my homemade Take 5 bars but really, there are only four lights ingredients. Caramel. Chunky peanut butter. Pretzel. And chocolate. Oh unless you count awesome as an ingredient.
These candy bars came as a request, as pretty much all my candy bars do, this time from my friend Chase. He sent me a recipe, which I pretty much ignored, as I am wont to do. The story goes something like this:
Once upon a time, in the magical land of NotOhio, there was a little boy. One day, this little boy felt a rumbly in his tumbly and lo, headed off in the direction of the nearest 7-Eleven to find something to sate his orangutan-sized hunger. He perused the aisles of this and that, passing Hershey bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups and something called a Goober when his eyes fell upon a beautiful stranger the likes of which he had never seen before, a coquettish, salty yet sweet little minx all wrapped up in red. Hey you, she called out, you, with the face. Why don’t you take a little time out with me? Just Take 5, just Take 5…”
I’m just going to leave that right there.
Okay, so Take 5 bars. For those of you that haven’t ever had one (I never had either, until last week), it’s a candy bar with layers of pretzel, peanuts, peanut butter and caramel, all wrapped up in chocolate. The reason I didn’t go by any recipe is because it just seemed pretty freaking easy to make. And it was. Time consuming, yes–like sort of all day, because you have to do it layer by layer, but all of those layers can be formed by pre-made ingredients so really, you’re just assembling things. Technically, peanuts and peanut butter can be two separate ingredients; I made it easy on myself and combined them into one by using chunky peanut butter instead. I made two mistakes, though. 1) Instead of going with my gut and using Jif, I used natural peanut butter I got from a local shop. I should’ve gone with Jif. All arguments about commercial additives aside, Jif melts really well with just a bit of extra water, which is necessary for spreading out the peanut butter over the bars. Natural peanut butter, not so much. Also, did you know that if you burn natural peanut butter while trying to melt it, it smells like popcorn? True story. 2) I didn’t put enough pretzel in. I did one layer of those mini-pretzels (Snyder’s of Hanover, if you must know), but I should have done two, or else used the thin sticks instead, for better pretzel coverage.
But all that aside, the bars came out pretty well. If you like peanut butter, caramel, pretzels and chocolate, these are indeed the bars for you. People did rave that they were tasty. They could have been lying to me. They could have been trying to get me to admit that there were actually five lights ingredients. But no. There are only four.
Homemade Take 5…er, 4 Bars
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 c. dark chocolate chips, divided
2-3 c. mini pretzels (whatever shape you prefer)
1 c. packed chunky peanut butter
1 lb caramel (I made my own)
2-3 tbsp water
Put 1 c. semisweet and 1 c. chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt until smooth. Line an 8×8 pan or a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pour chocolate into pan. Press pretzels down into chocolate as easily and neatly as you can. Place in the refrigerator and let set, about an hour.
Put peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat, with 1-2 tbsp of water and melt down until smooth, stirring often. Spread over pretzels and chocolate. Return to fridge to set, another hour or so.
Put caramel in a medium saucepan with 1 tbsp of water, melt down until smooth. Pour over peanut butter and–you guessed it—put the pan back in the fridge to set, 1-2 hours.
Melt the rest of the chocolate down, as before. Pour over the bars. Let set, another hour and then cut into bars. Eat. Share. Take…a break.