These no-bake bars come from Granny's wonderful cookbooks, written way back when, before it became cool and hip to call it "retro" and "mid-century" instead of "old fashioned" and "corny" as I call it. It really is fun reading through these old recipes in fund-raiser cookbooks, recipe cards and booklets from the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Some of the writing is very silly by today's standards. Advice from one cookbook dated 1950 says "pork is always cooked to the well done stage. It is never broiled unless cured as ham." Huh? Another suggests when making a brown bag sandwich to "omit lettuce or other greens---they wilt." What? Yeah, things were different in the "retro" era, I guess. So were these Baseball Bars. YIKES! In one version they required 4 whole cups of candy morsels for the topping in a little 8" square pan! YUCK, that's even too DULCE for me. We played around with the original recipe and came up with these bars. Adding the crunch from "Honey Bunches of Oats" cereal and peanuts, then cutting back on the candies, it allowed us to keep the flavor of the "old fashioned" bars, while fending off a diabetic coma. We chose a larger size pan, to spread out the topping a bit thinner than the original. Leftover candy morsels can always be used in other cookie recipes, so please don't give in to temptation and throw in the whole bag. I like using salted peanuts with this sweet treat, for a contrast in tastes, but you choose for yourself. If you plan on allowing kid chefs in the kitchen, please supervise them at all times. The original Baseball Bars were designed to recreate the taste of the "Baby Ruth" candy bar, popular back when the Sultan of Swat ruled the sports world. These Crunchy Baseball Bars are a tip of the cap to "retro" ballpark concession stand treats. We present them here in honor of the 2006 MLB Playoffs.
CRUNCHY BASEBALL BARS
Makes about 32 mini or 16 large bars
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 package marshmallows, about 10 oz.
1 cup chunky peanut butter, divided
NOT "natural" style, use a brand like Skippy or Jif
1 cup chopped peanuts, divided
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
6 cups Honey Bunches of Oats cereal
Spray a 9"x13" baking pan with a non-stick coating, like a canola spray, and set aside. Tear off a sheet of waxed paper longer than the pan, set aside. In a large pot on medium heat, melt the butter, add the marshmallows and stir with a big wooden spoon till completely melted. Add in all but 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter and stir. Add the cereal, 1/2 cup peanuts and toss quickly to coat. It will get all smooshy, but that's OK. Scrape into the prepared pan, cover it with the sheet of waxed paper and press the mixture down firmly into the pan in a somewhat even layer. Remove the waxed paper. Sprinkle butterscotch morsels over the top and press them into the mixture while still warm, use the waxed paper again if needed. In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the 2 remaining tablespoons of peanut butter and the semi-sweet chocolate morsels to a spreadable consistency, stirring constantly, do not burninate. Pour over the mixture and spread with a spatula to coat evenly. Top with the remaining chopped peanuts. Allow to cool completely and cut into bars.