Friday, May 24, 2013

Special K Bars

I grew up calling these wonderful little babies Special K Bars, but apparently they have a pseudonym and also go by Scotcheroos. Whatever you call them, these bars are delightful because they contain the perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate. The butterscotch added to the chocolate topping adds a little more sweetness that makes me smile.

I love to make these bars because they remind me of my childhood. My mom used to make them frequently for me for various reasons. Not only to enjoy at home, but I'd also bring them to share at soccer games, give them to my orchestra teachers after a concert, or bring to a party or potluck. This week, I made them as a big thank you.

You see, my mom was a gardener. Big time. As an only child, one of my many jobs was to water all the gardens in the yard during the summer when I was young and on summer break. We had a three-tier vegetable garden (it sloped down a hill), and numerous flower gardens strategically placed around our spacious yard, as well as countless pots filled with beautiful flowers. Watering everything took hours!

My mom passed away when I was a young teenager, so I didn't have the opportunity to learn many things from her. As I grow up and do things on my own, especially things I learn to do for the first time, sometimes I don't know how or where to start. I had planned on starting a flower garden next to our patio this Spring, and my wonderful husband dug up the section of grass/weeds last weekend for me. Since I hadn't learned my mom's gardening skills, I had to do a lot of internet research and preparations to figure out how to start a flower garden from scratch.

I researched what flowers grow well in this area of Ohio and in direct sunlight, where our garden would be located. Feeling excited to try this on my own, I went to the nearby garden center ready to purchase flowers. An incredibly nice lady helped me design and pick options for my first flower garden. She was so excited at the prospect of helping me start my new flower garden, but when I told her my budget was "the least amount possible" she changed her tone. She altered her design, and offered for me to come to her house later that afternoon and she would dig up a peony for me, because they are too expensive at the garden center, but she thought I really should have one. Then, she instructed me to return to the garden center the next day to find options that would match it from the new shipment they were getting in later that afternoon. I told her that she was too kind and that wasn't necessary, but she insisted. She gave me some tips on how to get my plot ready for planting the flowers too.

I bought the materials I needed to prepare the plot for the garden and when I arrived at home I got it ready for planting. Later that afternoon, I drove to her house (only 4 blocks from ours!) and she was ready for me. She dug up the peony (my favorite!!), as well as a lily, lambs ear, and dianthus for me! She gave me so much that I didn't even need to go back to the garden center the next day, and I had plenty to plant in our garden. She wanted to charge me $5, and I gave her $10 which was all the cash I had on me at the time, but I would have planned on given her more if I knew she was going to give me so many flowers! She kindly replied, "One day, you'll pass on the favor." And I will, that's for sure! Thank you Lisa for being so incredibly kind and helpful!

I am dropping off the bars at her house this afternoon! Pictures of the patio garden will pop later, when it stops raining.

Special K Bars
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 1 13x9 pan
Prep time: 15 minutes

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Special K cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Grease a 13x9 inch pan, and set aside.
2. Place sugar and corn syrup into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in peanut butter until melted and combined.
4. Place cereal into a large bowl, and pour the peanut butter mixture on top. Stir until well coated.
5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.
6. Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together over a double boiler (or alternatively, in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second intervals). Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let sit until firm (or refrigerate for a faster setting time).