Ok, we’ve got the first home opener game at Soldier Field coming up on Monday night & I can’t wait to go to Jamie’s tailgate! Jamie has been a friend of the family for years, is a season ticket holder and throws THE BEST tailgate parties up on the Waldron Deck. I will walk over to his tailgate after work and will bring some of the same treats that I made for the Bears this week: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars & Peanut Butter Balls. These treats are not new to the Bears, but are a couple of their favorites. And are perfect for parties!
First, for the Peanut Butter Balls. This is a pretty standard and basic recipe that calls for just a few ingredients, no baking, just set aside some prep time. It’s great because you can make them into medium sized balls (which is just right, because they are rich) and you will get 80 or so balls from one batch. I use a small cookie scoop for all my balls. This is a handwritten recipe, and I am not quite sure where I found it, so can’t give credit to the originator… but, oh well… we can all still enjoy it!
2 cups creamy peanut butter – (I use JIF – I grew up on Skippy, but find JIF to be creamier, just my preference)
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter – room temp.
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
2 cups chocolate chips (*the recipe says dark chocolate, however, I use 1 cup semi-sweet & 1 cup milk chocolate mixed together so they are a little on the sweeter side)
2 Tablespoons of vegetable shortening
Instructions: Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Cream the butter and peanut butter on medium. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time on low. Fold in Rice Krispies. Scoop into balls and refrigerate (if the dough is sticky) for about 10 minutes. Melt the chocolate w/shortening in a microwave safe bowl and then start dipping the balls. I just use a fork for dipping, roll the ball in the melted chocolate until covered and then scoop it carefully with your fork, and kind of tap fork on side of your bowl, shaking off the excess chocolate before placing on the wax paper. I store mine in a big Rubbermaid bin lined with wax paper and you can freeze them if you’d like. Just be sure to take them out and thaw them in the refrigerator a good 4 hours or so before you plan to serve. If you don’t freeze them at all, store them in fridge.
Now for the Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars. These are delicious… EVERYONE that tries them raves about them. They are one of the Bears favorite treats. The recipe is a little odd where it calls for 2 cups plus 1/8 cup of flour. 1/8th? Really? This is where that “baking is a science” gets a little annoying. But I am particular so I went out and found a 1/8 cup measuring cup just so I could be precise. But I am sure if you don’t have one you could just do 2 cups plus a “dash” or estimate…it’s not going to make or break this recipe. One thing that will or can affect the recipe though is your caramel. I am brand specific on this ingredient and always use KRAFT caramel squares… just because I think they have a really nice smooth texture, they melt well, and then firm well after baking. The annoying part here is just unwrapping each one… but, it will be worth your time once you taste the bars! And don’t skimp on the sprinkling of your salt. I found that Mariano’s now carries a nice “Fleur de sel” for just a few dollars… (salt can get pricey), so don’t worry about going crazy finding fancy salt… Sea Salt will do — just don’t be afraid to sprinkle it on there because it’s a really great compliment to the chocolate and caramel. Here is the recipe link from one of my favorite bloggers “The Brown Eyed Baker” Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars – The Brown Eyed Baker
Oh, and I use a light colored metal pan for these, because the light pans seem to bake evenly, vs. darker metal pans which seem to brown faster and not as evenly.
I hope you enjoy these as much as myself, friends and the Bears do… and please feel free to send me any comments or questions!
Hope you all have a great weekend and GO BEARS!!!