Take 6 candy bars
A homemade version of the best candy, Take 5 bars
Everyone can agree that Take 5 is objectively the best candy bar. It’s sweet and salty and crunchy and chewy. There’s just no other answer! Our Halloween candy bowl — the bowl that’s full of candy we eat throughout October with no intention of giving any to trick-or-treaters — has been consistently full of mini Take 5 bars. Actually it’s been consistently empty because we eat them all so fast.
I started thinking about how all the ingredients in a Take 5 — peanuts, peanut butter, caramel, pretzel, all covered in chocolate — are pretty easy to come by and that it would be fun to try making a fancy version at home. Also I’m very bored.
This was my first try writing a recipe, so if you make it and it comes out like shit, you were warned. It was extremely tasty, and while maybe not technically as good as a Take 5, because I’m not a professional candy factory, they are very good.
I loosely based this recipe on these Tahini Billionaire Bars from Bon Appetit, which I’ve made many times and which are sickeningly good (the billionaire bars are based on millionaire bars, which is just shortbread, chocolate, and caramel, kind of like Twix). I also took some tips from this caramel recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Even though Take 5 doesn’t have a cookie base, I thought it would be easier for building (and eating), so these have a shortbread base with some peanuts and pretzels mixed in. I also didn’t make my own peanut butter or pretzels because I’m not insane! The most important part of this process is that every time you read “layer” in this recipe, you have to read it in Shrek’s voice when he says “Ogres are like onions. Onions have layers.”
1 cup flour
¾ cup white sugar
1 stick softened butter
¼ cup each of chopped peanuts and pretzels
1 cup white sugar
1 stick butter (salted or unsalted)
½ cup heavy cream
3 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
¾ cup peanut butter
Crushed peanuts (salted or unsalted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Mix together flour, sugar, and softened butter. I cut the butter up into pieces and then softened it in the microwave. Add eggs. It’s a pretty thick dough and not the easiest to mix by hand (at one point I pulled out a potato masher), but it comes together.
2. Once the dough is mixed, add in chopped pretzels and peanuts. You can use more or less depending on what you like. The original Billionaire Bars recipe calls for sesame seeds, which would also be tasty.
3. Butter a 9x9 or 8x8 pan (I’m sure you could do it in another size or circular cake pan or something!). Add in parchment paper with an overhang on the edges, so you can pull the bars out at the end (like hoisting a whale out of the ocean).
4. Spread the shortbread batter into the pan and bake for 25ish minutes (give or take, I’ve only made this once!)
5. Microwave ¾ cup peanut butter to loosen it and spread over the baked shortbread cookie. Sprinkle pretzels on top of the peanut butter. Place dish in the fridge or freezer to set.
The setting time isn’t super important, it just depends on if you’re using the fridge or freezer and how impatient you are. I did the freezer for about 30 minutes each time.
6. Time to make caramel! Melt white sugar in a small pan. It gets chunky and weird before it melts but then it gets liquidy and caramel colored, like most caramel! Cut up the butter and add it to the sugar once it’s melted. Add salt and whisk together. Once butter is melted, add heavy cream. Whisk again.
I learned from watching Sohla El-Waylly’s caramel-making video that if you put the lid on the pot while the caramel is boiling, it will steam and wash down the sides of the pot (otherwise scrape down the sides with a little rubber spatula.
7. When it looks enough like caramel (this is subjective) take it off the heat. Take the pan out of the fridge/freezer and pour caramel over the top. Sprinkle a layer of the chopped peanuts. Put back in the fridge to set again.
I had leftover caramel and poured it into a jar to keep in the fridge for an undetermined future use.
8. Once that caramel/peanut layer is set, the end is nigh. Melt the chocolate, either in the microwave or a double-boiler situation (I did the microwave in 30-second increments, mixing in between). Pour the chocolate over the caramel/peanut layer. It will be lumpy after spreading around due to the peanuts. Sprinkle flaky salt on top (or regular coarse salt) and put back in the fridge/freezer.
9. Once it’s set, use the overhanging parchment to hoist that little whale out of the pan and cut into pieces. Store in either the fridge or freezer.
I don’t know if anyone will make these but if you do please tell me how they turn out! And also if this was legible as a recipe. Happy Huluween!