Peanut Pretzel Cornflakes Bars

 

Peanut Pretzel Cornflakes Bars

A sweet and savory version of 7-layer bars (aka Hello Dolly Bars or Magic bars) featuring chocolate, peanuts, cornflakes and a pretzel crust. 

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3/4 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 2/3 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup cornflakes
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a small pan. Stir in vanilla Remove from heat and stir in pretzel crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press, using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup into the bottom of the buttered pan taking care to reach all corners.
  • Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips, then the peanut butter chips, peanuts, and finally the cornflakes over the pretzel layer. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top, and spread with the back of a spoon or spatula until the mixture is evenly coated.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and the bars look “set”.
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. This seems to take forever but resist the urge to cut them when they are even remotely still warm. You can refrigerate them before slicing if you are a clean lines fanatic. Store in the refrigerator or on a cool counter in an air-tight container.

Notes

Freeze leftovers up to 6 months if desired.

There is a place about an hour or so away in PA that purports to be the birthplace of hard pretzels. We visited the tiny museum last summer and my husband fell in love with the pretzels, specifically the horse and buggy shaped ones. As we learned on the tour from our must-be-in-high school-musical-theater tour guide, the pretzels have a bit of malt in them which gives them a distinctive flavor. We bought several bags on our first trip and then returned (it’s a cute little town with a Main Street lined with cafes and shops) in the fall to restock. We seem to go through about 1 bag a month. When we’ve bought them in the museum shop, the expiration date was always about 6 months away. We ran out of pretzels recently and of course, we aren’t taking any day trips to PA anytime soon so I got in contact with the museum and they confirmed that they were still shipping out pretzels direct from the factory. I wanted to order a cute tin but oddly they only came with a little over a pound of pretzels (the regular bags are 14 oz) so that didn’t seem like enough or the economical choice. So Matt decided we should order a case of the horse and buggy pretzels. Which is 12 bags. They don’t have half cases, although you can order a split case but Matt only likes the horse and buggy ones and I can’t eat six bags of sourdough myself. So a full case it was! The price seemed somewhat reasonable (and we aren’t spending much money on anything else right now so why not a pretzel treat?) so I placed an order which arrived less than 36 hours later.

Unfortunately, they arrived with an expiration date of July! Of course, we had no way to check this (one of the many reasons why I haven’t been having groceries delivered) but we had hoped since it was factory direct they’d have far off dates like the ones we’ve bought at the museum. 12 bags of pretzels in what we hoped was six months was a lot more than the rate we had been eating in but now we are both having all meals and snacks here every single day so it seemed somewhat reasonable.

This was a very longwinded way of saying that we have a ton of pretzels we now need to consume in the next three months. I dropped a bag over the fence for our next-door neighbor. Then I had the idea to make 7-layer bars (aka magic bars) using pretzels instead of cookies for the base layer. It was rather clever of me, I thought. I had been thinking about making the bars for a while because they seem perfect for the pandemic. Besides the butter, every single ingredient is shelf-stable and easy to find.

These are the perfect blend of salty and sweet. Peanuts is the natural pairing for pretzels so I used those and peanut butter chips to really bring it all together. I suggest you use your darkest chocolate chips to cut the sweetness a bit. Cornflakes were my husband’s suggestion. I had bought a big box with another recipe in mind but haven’t made it yet so we had some on hand. They added a lot of crunch, some sweet corn flavor and really helped keep that sweet-salty-savory balance.

 

 

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