I have fond memories of one particular item that was part of the school lunch program when I was a kid. It was a peanut butter bar, covered in chocolate, and I was always so happy on the days it was served. I never knew the name this dessert until recently, when I was researching recipes for the midwestern United States. I kept seeing Scotcheroos mentioned, and I was gleefully surprised to see that Scotcheroos were the treasured relic from my childhood cafeteria!
Most Scotcheroo recipes are loaded with high fructose corn syrup combined with butterscotch chips, peanut butter, sugar, rice crispies, and chocolate chips. I initially tried to dismiss the idea of making Scotcheroos, as they obviously are not a healthy item. High fructose corn syrup plus butterscotch chips (made with even more undesirable ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil); not for my family!
But yet, I kept thinking about Scotcheroos, remembering how much pleasure they brought to me as a child and thinking how sweet it could be to share that with my own children. So I finally decided to embark on creating a healthier Scotcheroo, one that was devoid of those uber-processed ingredients and instead made with healthier ingredients such as honey, sucanat, and butter. I'm not claiming these Scotcheroos are healthy and perfect; they do still have some processed ingredients, but they are much healthier than the typical Scotcheroos.
It has been fun to share this food-from-my-childhood with my kids. Oh, and did I forget to mention? These Scotcheroos are DELICIOUS! Rich, sweet, creamy, crispy, and oh so yummy.
Peanut Butter Layer:
3/4 cup mild-flavored honey
1/2 cup sugar, preferably organic
1/4 cup sucanat
Two-16-ounce jars of creamy peanut butter, preferably organic
1/4 tsp finely-ground Celtic sea salt
2 cups rice crisps cereal
butter, for greasing the 9X13 dish
Chocolate Butterscotch Topping:
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, preferably nutrient-dense
1/3 cup sucanat
1 Tb whole milk
1/8 tsp finely ground Celtic sea salt
1&1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life soy-free chocolate chips)
Make the Peanut Butter Mixture
In a med-large pot (4-qt), combine the honey, sugar, sucanat, peanut butter, and salt.
Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Turn off heat. Allow to cool slightly, and then stir in the rice crisps cereal.
Use butter to grease a 9X13 glass baking dish.
Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly in the 9X13 dish.
Place the dish in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes before adding the chocolate topping.
Make the Chocolate Butterscotch Topping
In a medium-sized pot, combine the butter, sucanat, milk, vanilla, and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has melted and all is well-mixed.
Add the chocolate chips and continue to cook over low heat. Stir frequently, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
Bring It All Together:
Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread out the chocolate as evenly as possible.
Place the 9X13 dish back in the fridge to cool for at least 1.5 hours.
Once cool, slice the Scotcheroos into squares and serve with a glass of raw milk. These Scotcheroos are quite rich, so we generally get ~30 servings out of one batch.
Leftovers can be stored in the freezer so there is no pressure to consume them all quickly. Parchment paper works well to keep the Scotcheroos from sticking to each other.
What is your favorite childhood dessert?
This post is part of Weekend Potluck!
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