Yep, you saw right. Take 5 Brownies.
Right now you're probably wondering.... where have these been all my life?
And also... how many of these can I eat without having to incorporate stretchy pants into my holiday wardrobe?
Or, um, maybe that's just me?
But since Take 5 bars are one of my favorite candies, I've had this idea brewing for a while.
And this is not my first attempt.
Round 1 was largely disappointing. It used cake mix bars instead of brownies, and incorporated peanut butter chips and peanut butter cups. Which you'd think would be better, because let's face it who doesn't love a Reese's cup? But honestly they just got lost in all the mess of caramel and chocolate.
I still brought the bars to Thanksgiving, and overall people seemed to like them, but I was not impressed.
They were sooo much better in my mind than in reality.
(Ugh. HATE that.)
I knew I could do better.
So it was back to the cutting board, if you will - and Round 2 was infinitely times better.
I'm only sad that I made them to take to a party and not to eat the whole pan.
In one sitting.
Then again, since Cardiac Arrest was not on my Christmas list this year, perhaps it's all for the best?
Take Five Brownies
- 1 box (family-sized for 9x13 pan) milk chocolate brownie mix
- 1 C. crunchy peanut butter
- 2/3 C. powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 C. ‘snaps’ or waffle pretzels (approximate- you may need a few more or less)
- 1 C. milk chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)
- 1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 C. light brown sugar
- 6 T. light corn syrup
- 2 T. heavy cream
- 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Bake milk chocolate brownies as directed on box in a 9x13 pan. Allow to cool completely, then combine crunchy peanut butter with powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat until combined, then spread evenly over cooled brownies.
Arrange pretzels over top of peanut butter in a single layer. Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over top of pretzels and set aside.
Prepare caramel topping: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and stir, making sure all sugar is dissolved. Stir 5-10 minutes more, until caramel is thick & bubbly (about 230 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and pour caramel evenly over brownies. Run the tip of a knife or the back of a spoon over the top in swirl patterns to create a design. Refrigerate pan for about 1 hour to set. Then remove brownies by lifting foil, and cut into bars.
Note: These are rich, so in this case less is more. I’d cut 4 columns down the short end, and 8 rows down the long end to make 32 bars. Also, I like to cut the edges off first – totally optional, but it makes the bars look nicer!
Original Recipe; Caramel Topping recipe adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking