With the Cebu series out of the way, I thought I’d break the monotony by sharing a recipe I recently did. Be warned, candy bar lovers: this is so simple, you might find yourself making it more often than necessary.
So this past Christmas, my sister enlisted my help in creating holiday giveaways for friends and family. Being the budding baker that I am, I said yes, seeing as it’s my chance to make as many treats as I can with no fear of getting stuck under a mountain of cookies I can’t get rid of. But more on that later.
Anyway, after the holidays, I was stuck with a whole lot of leftover ingredients. For fear of letting them hit their expiration dates without having achieved their life purpose (I’m very supportive that way), I decided to think of a way to combine them into one treat. I had on hand half a bag of rice puffs, bittersweet and unsweetened baking chocolate, a barely touched bag of jumbo marshmallows and some caramel candies. Then it came to me: copycat candy Whatchamacallits.
Whatchamacallits are basically peanut-flavored rice puffs topped with caramel and covered in chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth, enough time on your hands, and the ingredients already in your kitchen, you won’t regret making these.
For the peanut-flavored rice puffs:
2 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
150g (if using jumbos like I did, about 22 pieces) marshmallows
70g (heaping 1/4 cup) chunky or smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups rice puffs
For the caramel layer:
156g (18-20 pieces) caramel candies (I used Kraft)
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp butter
For the chocolate coating:
250g bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
60g unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper (make sure it’s big enough to have overhangs) greased with a bit of butter or oil. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter, then dump in the marshmallows. Once the marshmallows have completely melted, pour in the peanut butter and mix well. Pour in the vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in the rice puffs, making sure no puff is left dry.
- Working quickly, dump the rice puff mixture into the prepared baking pan. Use a spatula, a greased measuring cup, or your greased hands to press the rice puffs down and create an even layer. Make sure it reaches the sides and corners. Set aside.
- Combine the caramels, milk, and butter in a small pot and melt them together over a flame. (You can also use the microwave for this; just put the said ingredients in a microwaveable bowl.) Give the caramel sauce a stir to make sure everything is melted, then scrape every bit of it onto the rice puff layer, spreading evenly so no rice puff is showing. Put the pan in the fridge and let it set for at least two hours.
- Once the caramel-covered rice puff layer has set, pull it out of the pan using the parchment overhangs. Use a sharp knife to cut the layer into separate bars. I created 16 long ones (four inches long, one inch wide), but you can make them smaller or bigger if you want. Put them back in the fridge to set again. To speed up the process, pop them in the freezer.
- When the bars are set, combine both types of baking chocolate as well as the vegetable oil in a microwaveable bowl and melt them in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Be sure to check on them and stir in between to make sure they’re not burning. Basically, you want the chocolate to be smooth and completely melted.
- Prepare a container by laying a sheet of parchment paper on it. Ideally, the container should have a lid and be able to fit in the fridge for storage.
- Take the bars out of the fridge/freezer. Cover each bar with the chocolate mixture and place it in the prepared container. Because I didn’t want the caramel layer to melt into the warm chocolate, how I did it was I took a bar, dipped the bottom into the chocolate until it reached halfway up the sides of the bar, laid it in the container, and used and spooned more chocolate on top to completely cover it. If you find it easier to dunk the entire bar into the chocolate, feel free to do so. Once all bars have been coated, put them back in the fridge to set.
- For presentation purposes, you can use a peeler to shave off any excess chocolate that’s pooled and set around each bar. Or not. It’s up to you.
*Real Whatchamacallits are have a milk chocolate coating, but I didn’t want my bars to be too sweet, which is why I resorted to a combination of bittersweet and unsweetened. If you want to make a genuine version, go ahead and use milk chocolate.
*I was afraid I would move too slowly and the melted chocolate would seize on me so I actually did mine in two batches. I melted 125g bittersweet chocolate, 30g unsweetened chocolate, and one tablespoon oil together and did 8 bars. Then I melted the remaining chocolates and oil for the remaining bars.
*Just in case you’re interested, each bar has an estimated 264 calories if you make 16 pieces.
If you give this a shot, make alterations, etc. let me know how it turns out.
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