Update: This is an old post from 2006, and you should know that the recipe is WAY under-rated. Or maybe I was just really hungry when I made these the first time, but they were so good and had so many different textures and flavors. I think I’d make them more often if I had Reese’s Peanut Butter Cereal around. I may buy some just to update these pictures.
Update 2: Okay, so I didn’t buy the Reese cereal. Instead I made Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies with Trader Joe’s Bambas, the delicious puffy little peanut butter & styrofoam flavored snacks. I actually like Bambas, but they are better by themselves than baked into brownies, so stick with the cereal.
Also, I’ve linked to the original recipe on which this one is based, and the last time I checked it still worked. If you find this post and can’t access the original recipe, here’s a quick rundown on how to make these brownies:
Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
You will need the following: 1 batch of brownies baked as directed in a 9×13 inch pan. Use any brand or bake them from scratch. 14 oz of unwrapped caramels and 1/4 cup water 1 or 2 cups of broken pretzels 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 cup powdered sugar 2 cups peanut butter 2 or 3 cups Reese’s Puffs Cereal (use more or less to taste) 2 cups of chocolate chips plus a little shortening or coconut oil for melting
Let your baked brownies cool. Put the caramels and the water in a large microwave-safe bowl and melt on high power, stirring every 15 to 30 seconds until completely melted. Stir pretzels into caramel, then pour over the baked brownies. Refrigerate while you prepare the peanut butter. Mix the melted butter and powdered sugar, then stir in the softened peanut butter until smooth. Stir in cereal and spread over the caramel layer. Melt the chips along with a little shortening or coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. Spread over the peanut butter layer. Chill until firm, then lift from pan and carve into squares.
Old Post and Link to Original
One of the best things about being on the Bake-Off Contest floor was walking around and sampling the other contestants’ recipes. Last year I was too nervous to do that and opted to go back to the hotel room and hide under the covers. But this year, I walked around and tasted as many things as I could. One entry that really stood out was called Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies.
I love Take 5 Bars, the candy after which these brownies were modeled, and these are similar. They are sweet, a little salty, and have a bit of crunch from the Reese’s cereal. The Reese’s cereal, which I thought it would get soggy but which in fact stays crisp and airy and balances out the richness of the brownies.
The worst part of making these was unwrapping the caramels. When will someone start packaging unwrapped blocks of caramel for baking? Maybe it’s not easy to do from a packaging standpoint (I wouldn’t know), but it’s 2006 and you’d think we’d have come up with a way to get past having to stand there and unpeel each little caramel. Lucky for me I have a 4 year old helper. But soon she’ll catch on to the fact that unwrapping caramel is not fun. The end results were worth the trouble of unwrapping the caramels.
Ok so i confess…this is the second brownie recipe i made this weekend. hahaha. These are great to make. A lot interesting layers of flavors. If you like sweet and salty together….make these. My brownie layer cooked quicker than I expected so i recommend that you set the timer for about 5 minutes less than recipe calls for. I couldnt find regular caramels(for some reason) so i used the caramel bits and they worked fine. It took them a while to melt but still tasted good.
I got home from work tonight and had a severe chocolate craving! When I saw these on your website, I knew they would meet my chocolate desires. haha I went to the store, got all but one of the ingredients (brownie mix), and went home and baked them. I went nuts when I realized that i had forgotten the brownie mix, so I had to make some from scratch. They were superb, along with the rest of the ingredients added on. Honestly, my mouth has never been so happy. These DEFINITELY aren’t the brownies you want to make if you are planning to wear a bikini this summer. But all in all, unwrapping the hundreds of caramels was well worth this chocolately masterpiece.
I made these over the weekend & I was a little disappointed. I am a HUGE fan of the salty sweet combination. The salty sweet combination with peanut butter is even better. (who said Chubby Hubby?) With this recipe I thought I would be able to taste more salt & more caramel. I was disappointed that I couldn’t. Do you you think it would work if I added more caramel & pretzels and cut down on some of the PB mixture? (3/4 of the mixture).
Erica, sorry you were disappointed in the brownies. Maybe that’s why they didn’t win. Perhaps they were too peanut-buttery and not salty enough? I don’t know. I liked them the way they were, but am always up for improvements! Maybe you could keep the peanut butter the same, but add more pretzels and caramel?
I’ve missed you!! BTw, you’ve inspired me to work on some recipes for contests.
Congratulations on the grand Prize! I am new to the blog world but I have been reading yours for a long time and I am glad you are back from remodeling!Those bars look scrumptious and I think they will be on our cookout menu this sunday!
Congrats, Anna on your big win! I read Amy’s blogs and usually lurk but don’t post on your’s. Going to try these brownies over the weekend. So excited to “know” a fellow blogger who aced the Bake Off!
Did you ever try making your own caramel? It probably wouldn’t take as long as opening all those candies, but it definitely adds a layer of danger to the process (nothing burns worse than hot sugar!!!)
Welcome back, Anna! I must admit that these do look scrumptious – not to mention beautiful once they were sliced up.And I agree with you wholeheartedly about the caramels!
Welcome back, and congrats again, Anna! PS – If you want a redesign, drop me a line. I just had mine done, and I know just the person to help you. 🙂
I’m so happy for your big win,Anna!
yum-o! These look great & I’m so happy to see you’re back to blogging. =)I have to admit, there are some recipes I would just loooovveee to make, but I avoid because they require unwrapping all those darn caramels. So I agree, someone should definitely develope a “caramel bar for baking”
I thought it was just me with the caramels. I have some I bought for recipes but whenever I see a recipe that calls for them, I pass because I don’t want to unwrap the darn things. The brownies look great. I’m a cereal junkie so anything the incorporates it cannot be bad!I got to type nuugy…:-)
Wow, between you and Joe, I don’t know which to make first!Congratulations BTW. I have told everyone that I “know” the winner of the Bake-Off. I am so happy for you!
Anna won the grand price of the BAKE OFF!!! Girls why are you keeping it so low key, you are like WOW!!!Anna ROCKS!!!!vegimouse
Glad to “see” you back in the blogging world Anna!Have you had a chance to buy fuzz her new play thing from Sams?
Chloe, I love your ice cream cone.Yeah, remodeling is going slow. I’m never going to have a slick and professional looking blog, so I’ll just keep plugging away with my goofy commentary and bright colors. I might change the background to purple.
Whoah, remodeling blazing on through, hurray! Sounds like a good bar cookie. Peanut butter and chocolate are a few of mine and my husband’s favourite things.
Those brownies look really good! And your running commentary is very fun to follow. Welcome back!
Yay! I keep checking back here! Congratulations! 🙂 I keep saying… I “know” you! 🙂 I am so glad you are back at blogging… I needed you last week when I had a craving for shortbread LOL!
Those brownies look absolutely heavenly, so many yummy layers! Take 5 candy is also one of my favs, so these should be perfect for my tastes.
I’m addicted to blogging.
yay! So happy to see updates on Cookie Madness, I can hardly stand it.