Sometimes I hear about or see something and know instantly I have to have it, have to make it, be a part of it. This thing must be a part of my life in some way. Maybe it’s a dress that made its way down the runway during New York Fashion Week. One that I have no place to wear but can’t stop thinking about nonetheless. Perhaps it’s the newest nail polish shade from Chanel. The hottest color, I will undoubtedly work all my makeup sources to hoard it before it sells out. I might even fall in love with a flower I see in an email or online. Years ago we ordered black tulip bulbs to plant. They were the most beautiful flowers. But then the squirrels dug up the bulbs and they are no more
Then there are the places I want to visit. Reading about local restaurants in the newspaper has me scribbling them down on a list of places I want to dine. I have hundreds of bookmarks for places I want to visit across the country, mostly related to food, which is why I try to mail order food on occasion. My eyes light up at the sight of a new play or musical coming to town, as my fingers click over to Ticketmaster to snap up some hopefully front row seats.
Of course, there are nearly countless recipes that I want to make one day too. I have to be honest, I have tons bookmarked and printed, plus cookbooks full of decadent delights that I hope fill my kitchen one day. But rare is the recipe that makes me stop in my tracks and put it on my baking schedule. Most of the things I make come from my imagination, a need for a recipe to use a certain ingredient, or finally getting around to one that’s stared at me for years.
This is not one of those recipes. Rather it is one that demanded my instant attention. I saw this recipe for Peanut Chewy Payday Bars on Averie Cooks and could not stop thinking about it. I tweeted it, pinned it, and most importantly printed it. That’s right, this recipe didn’t even rest in the bookmarks. I can’t remember the last time a recipe appealed to me so much that it was mere days, and a stop at the store for a box of Rice Krispies, before I was making it.
The original recipe called for ingredients that mimic the flavor of a Payday bar, one of my favorite candies. And while I want to try the recipe in its original form soon, I wanted to make something a little more holiday, more festive. So I swapped peanut butter for Biscoff, eliminated the corn syrup, because it turns out corn syrup makes Biscoff seize, peanuts for walnuts, and some of the marshmallows for Gingerbread Peeps. I’m kind of obsessed with marshmallows. You might be able to tell that based on how often I make and use my favorite marshmallow frosting. It tastes much better than store bought marshmallows, but there is totally a place and time for those. I added some here for balance, but the surprisingly tasty Gingerbread Peeps were calling to make an appearance in a recipe. What says Christmas more than Peeps shaped like gingerbread men with amazing gingerbread flavor?
The end result? It lived up to all my wild expectations and then some. The crust was firm, but still a little crumble and sandy. The insanely thick layer of marshmallows was soft and gooey with some of that great gingerbread flavor. The topping, crunchy with walnuts and Rice Krispies and rich with Biscoff. Together, the flavor combination is amazing, and this is one addictive and super easy to make treat. The title may not be the catchiest, but I can assure you the bars themselves are. I can’t wait to make the original because if my remix is this good, I can only wonder what greatness the original has in store. Give yourself an early Christmas present and make these bars.
- ¾ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 10 Gingerbread Peeps
- About 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
- 1 cup creamy Biscoff
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups Rice Krispies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with parchment, leaving overhang above the edges of the pan. Butter the parchment generously.
- In a medium bowl, smash together the butter, flour, and brown sugar until the mixture is crumbly and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the pan and press it in very firmly with fingers or the back of a spoon (or both). Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is set and very light golden brown.
- Pack the Gingerbread Peeps tightly over the crust. Top with enough miniature marshmallows to completely cover the Peeps. The more marshmallows the better. Return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the marshmallows are puffed and melted, but not brown at all. Set aside.
- Make the topping. In a medium microwave safe bowl, microwave Biscoff and butter until fully melted and combined. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between to promote melting. Stir in the vanilla. Add the walnuts and Rice Krispies and stir until they are distributed and fully coated. Pour over the marshmallows and smooth, covering the entire surface. Cool completely in pan.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut into bars once cooled and serve. May be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.