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!
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.
You’ll also need some tools.
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.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Turn the stove on to “medium,” or the closest thing to it. Melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring frequently.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t forget that pan on the stove now! Keep stirring it regularly. It should be starting to get a little bubbly.
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.
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.
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.
Now, get that pan full of warm caramel-ey goodness. Pour about 1/3 of it over the peanut butter.
Spread the caramel out with a spoon so it reaches all the way to the edges.
Now, repeat the last three steps with another third of the peanut butter and caramel.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You want three layers of everything. Use up the rest of the melty stuff.
Remember those chocolate chips? Go get them. I use plain old semisweet, although this batch ended up with milk chocolate ones mixed in.
Sprinkle them over the caramel as evenly as possible.
Pop that pan in the oven for five minutes.
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.
After five minutes, pull the pan out. Smooth out the chocolate with the back of a spoon.
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.
Now, clear out a spot in your freezer and put the pan in there.
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.
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.
Flip it over.
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.
Repeat until you have a row of bars.
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.
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!