Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clean-out-the-Pantry Bars

I don't know what to call these things.  The recipe from the cookbook I used as my guide (Hershey's Classic Recipes) calls them Peanut Butter Chip Triangles.  But, I didn't use peanut butter chips in my version.  Actually, I've made these bars several times (they're sort of an I-want-something-sweet-and-I-want-it-quick-and-easy sort of treat) and I've never used peanut butter chips.  That's the beauty of these things.  Throw in any sort combination of goodies and they are fantastic.  I used chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, and chopped peanuts this time.  I think that chocolate chips and coconut would be fantastic.  Or white chocolate chips and chopped, dried cherries.  Or cranberries, if that's what you have.  Maybe throw some chopped walnuts into that last mix.  Mmmmmm.  Or maybe just chocolate chips if that's all that is available.  Butterscotch chips would be good, too.  Maybe a combination of butterscotch, white chocolate, and semi-sweet chips. 

You get the idea.  So long as you always keep a can of sweetend condensed milk around, you are good to go with whatever else happens to be in your pantry. 

Which is why, after much debate, I just decided to call them "Clean-out-the-Pantry Bars".  It's the most descriptive thing I can think of. (Or, as I should say to be grammatically correct: "It's the most descriptive thing of which I can think."  But, in all honesty, that just sounds dumb.)

Clean-out-the-Pantry Bars

1-1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) cold butter (you can substitute margarine...although I never do.  I like butter better.)
10 oz. candy chips of your choice, divided (I substuted with 1/2 C chocolate chips and a half a bag of mini M&Ms)
1 (14 oz) can sweetend condensed milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 C. chopped nuts (I used peanuts)

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together flour and brown sugar.  Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add 1/2 C. chips.  Press mixture onto bottom of ungreased 9x13x2 in. pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

Combine milk, egg, and vanilla.  Stir in remaining chips and nuts. Spread evenly over baked crust. (Note: if you use something like M&Ms, its best to sprinkle them over the pan right before baking, rather than stiring them into the liquid mixture.  This way, the colors from candy shells won't bleed into the batter.)

Bake 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Cool completely.

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