Sticky Fingers bars

Today, I’m prepping for the Super Bowl of Aunting.

This weekend, while my sister is in the hospital having a new baby girl, I’ll be taking care of both of my nephews (11 and 6) and my niece (18 months). So today, I’m packing snacks and games and Googling a lot of things. Like, “how to bathe a toddler” and “How the hell do people sleep with three kids inside the same house?”

But I didn’t want to leave without sharing this recipe with you for Sticky-Fingers Bars. Because you guys have given me a ton of great suggestions for things to take with me this weekend (e.g. DVDs, art projects, Maker’s Mark, Xanax), and you deserve something so decadent that it’s borderline embarrassing.

How embarrassingly decadent could these bars be? There are Snickers® bars in the crust. Oh, yes.

Don’t even try to figure out the calories. If you do, your calculator is guaranteed to smoke, flash “7734” on its display and turn itself upside-down. (In case you didn’t do that in fourth grade, “7734” viewed upside-down on a calculator looks like “HELL.”)

Are your loins girded?

Do you have a pair of pajama jeans ready?

OK, let’s do this.

First, you make the crust. It starts with a quick, buttery dough that you spike with peanuts and bake into a huge rectangular cookie. Then, you slice a few Snickers® candy bars and scatter the pieces over the crust, letting them melt a little so that they’ll stick and bake in place.

Next, you whisk together the filling – a blend of eggs, sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or light corn syrup), butter, vanilla and salt – pour it over the crust, and bake until the filling sets. It might remind you of pecan pie filling, but that layer will be thinner, firmer and less cloying.

After the bars have cooled for about 30 minutes, you really bring the pain. A layer of peanut butter. A layer of chopped peanuts. And a final layer of melted chocolate drizzled over the top.

It will look like too much. You might even be a little repulsed at first. You know what else is repulsive at first? A newborn baby. Just hang in there.

After the mixture has chilled for at least an hour, you can cut it into bars. Go for 24, since they’re pretty intense. They’re like big Snickers® bars that have eaten a bunch of little Snickers® bars.

Yep.

I like the bars straight out of the refrigerator, but Jeff prefers them at room temperature, so you should really make the sacrifice and try them both ways.

And, if you have any more advice for me this weekend, please pass it along in the comments! I want this weekend to be fun but not “Lord of the Flies” fun. Help!

Sticky-Fingers Bars

Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen”

Makes about 24

    Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 4 (2.07-ounce) Snickers® bars
    Filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving several inches of overhang on the short ends of the dish. (You’ll use them to lift the bars out of the dish later.) Grease the foil with butter or a nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. For the Crust: Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. With the mixer on medium-low, add the flour and peanuts, and mix just until incorporated.
  4. Press the dough into your prepared baking dish, and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  5. Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  6. Cut the Snickers® bars horizontally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cover the crust with the Snickers® slices, leaving about 1/4-inch between slices.
  7. For the Filling: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla and salt. Pour the mixture over the crust, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set. (The filling shouldn’t wiggle when you take the pan out of the oven.) Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. To Assemble: Spread the peanut butter on top of the filling. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts evenly over the peanut butter.
  9. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, and melt it in the microwave. Check every 30 seconds to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Stir the chocolate until it’s smooth, and drizzle it over the chopped peanuts.
  10. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  11. Grab the foil edges, and lift the bars out of the pan. Using a serrated knife, trim the edges away from all four sides. Then, using a smooth sharp knife (preferably a Santoku or even a cleaver) or a bench scraper, cut into bars. Store the bars in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat them. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

STORAGE: If you wrap the bars well, they will keep for about 5 days at room temperature or 3 weeks frozen.