This is a step-by-step recipe for my new favorite indulgence: Duck Treats. They were inspired by this recipe for Salt River Bars, but I’ve adapted it and changed a few things, so I’m giving them my own little name. It’s a snappier name, and what goes better with a Duck game then a tray of salty-sweet goodness? I don’t know if I should call them cookies or candies, but they’re fucking delicious, no matter what. And I’ve been promising to share this recipe for ages, so here it is. Trick or treat? Definitely the latter!

Duck Treats

Duck Treats! Wooo-hoo!

So. First thing’s first. Assemble the ingredients: 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 2 cups peanut butter chips, two sleeves of saltine crackers, and some coarse salt.

Ingredients

How can you go wrong with this pile of YUM?

You’ll also need some tools.

Tool Kit

Pretty basic stuff.

This recipe will fill one 8×8 inch cake pan. You can easily double or triple it for a bigger pan. Grease that pan really, really well.

Greasy

Wipe off the excess with a paper towel, but make sure you get a good coat on there.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Preheat

If possible, have a nicer stove than me.

Turn the stove on to “medium,” or the closest thing to it. Melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring frequently.

Mmmm.

Dump it in...

Tell me someone got the Star Wars Holiday Special reference...

Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir...

Smooth

It will get nice and smooth. Keep stirring.

While that’s getting warm (don’t forget to stir it often!), start laying out the first row of crackers. The more evenly spaced they are, the better, so go ahead and be OCD about it.

Crackers

Tic-Tac-Toe anyone?

You want the crackers all the way to the end, so you’ll have to cut a few in half. Be patient, they shatter easily. Use a sharp knife and slow, steady pressure.

Cutting Crackers

Don't be afraid to cut a bitch.

Split Saltine

Oh yeah. That's right.

Take the best ones and use as many as you need to fill in your edges. You’ll probably need to use a broken piece (or cut one cracker into fourths) to get that last little corner.

Layer One

This is your cracker foundation.

Don’t forget that pan on the stove now! Keep stirring it regularly. It should be starting to get a little bubbly.

Caramel

Don't lick the spoon though, you'll burn your tongue.

Let it get a nice gentle boil going for about five minutes. You’re going for a nice caramel, but having a little of that brown-sugar graininess remaining gives a great delicate texture. After about five minutes, remove it from heat and set it aside.

Perfect Brown Sugar Caramel

Perfect Brown Sugar Caramel

Now, get your peanut butter chips. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it in ten-second increments, stirring to melt it evenly.

Peanut Butter Chips

Peanut! Peanut butter!

Melty Goodness

I'm melting! Melllllllltiiiiiiing!

Now comes the hardest part of the entire process (but don’t be scared, it’s not that bad). Spread about 1/3 of the melted peanut butter chips evenly over the crackers.

That's what she said.

It might get messy. Don't be afraid to get your fingers in there.

That's also what she said!

See? You might get sticky, but it gets the job done.

Now, get that pan full of warm caramel-ey goodness. Pour about 1/3 of it over the peanut butter.

Slow & Steady

Nice and slow.

Spread the caramel out with a spoon so it reaches all the way to the edges.

Spread 'em

Spread 'em

Now, repeat the last three steps with another third of the peanut butter and caramel.

More crackers

Or, as my son says, "Moh Kah-koh!"

Peanut Butter

You can't go wrong with the phrase "more peanut butter"

Caramel

Yeah. You know you want it.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You want three layers of everything. Use up the rest of the melty stuff.

Last row

Last layer of crackers - use the rest for soup later or something.

Empty it out

Empty cup, full pan. Yum.

excess caramel

Don' worry if the layers aren't perfectly even. Dump that excess right in there.

Remember those chocolate chips? Go get them. I use plain old semisweet, although this batch ended up with milk chocolate ones mixed in.

I'll get over it.

I blame the kid who restocks the bulk bins at Winco

Sprinkle them over the caramel as evenly as possible.

Oh yummy

By now, your kitchen smells like heaven

Pop that pan in the oven for five minutes.

That's what she said.

Yeah. Get it in there.

Take that five minutes to at least rinse the dishes. This stuff all turns to cement if it’s left there, but a little hot water right away and it’s easy clean-up.

Mad clean machine

I'm a mad clean machine.

After five minutes, pull the pan out. Smooth out the chocolate with the back of a spoon.

Pretty!

Looking good now...we're almost there...

Sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the melted chocolate. You don’t want to use more than about 1/2 a Tablespoon, as too much will be overpowering. I like Kosher salt, but sea salt works great too. Table salt doesn’t give as good a result, so I don’t recommend it.

Salty

It should look about like this if you use Kosher salt

Now, clear out a spot in your freezer and put the pan in there.

Freezer

Hmm. I think I need to defrost my refrigerator.

Leave it in the freezer to solidify for at least an hour. This will make it easier to unmold. Now’s a good time to finish cleaning the kitchen.

Clean

Treats taste better when you've already done the dishes.

After the goodies have cooled and you’re ready to cut it up, take the pan out. Run a sharp knife carefully between the treats and the edge of the pan (which I somehow forgot to take a picture of). Then invert the pan, either on the counter or on to some waxed paper and hit the bottom of the pan a few times to dislodge the treats.

Push it. Push it good.

Yeah, I'd hit that.

Heheheh. Bottom

If you greased the pan well, you won't lose any layers.

Flip it over.

Right side up.

Flip it.

They will cut better if you let them come to room temperature, but I’ve never had that much patience. With that sharp knife, push with slow, steady pressure to cut the block into strips.

That's what she said.

Use both hands and go slow

Repeat until you have a row of bars.

Cross Section

Check out that strata!

Cut the bars into squares. This is the part where you will have some casualties. No one will care if the squares aren’t perfect, but if you’re worried about it, eat the evidence.

We ate them.

You may notice that there's already a row missing. I couldn't keep the boys out of it.

And…eat them! If you’re taking them to a party or want to save some, put them in an airtight container. They should last up to a week, but I’ve never had them stick around that long. Happy Halloween!

Also: GO DUCKS!

Eat me.

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