Salted Nut Chews (Salted Nut Bars, Salted Nut Roll Bars)

Originally my bottom crust was completely made from scratch but later, I used the 'crust' part of my sister-in-laws version, which used a yellow cake mix.  Although I don't love the taste of store bought cake mixes, I did love how quick and easy these came together when making it that way!

In the end I almost always opt for this version of the crust - although I still play around with the filling because the original recipe called for a 12 ounce bag of peanut butter chips, but you know how companies love to 'downsize' their products while raising the prices!  Sure enough, they later started to make the packages of peanut butter chips in 10 ounce sized.  That's when I started to use a scoop of real peanut butter in my filling (among other little things I tweak as I feel like it).

So here is a basic recipe using the cake mix crust because it's a great crust - but I'll publish my really old 'other' bottom crust version below as well. 

Salted Nut Chews

1 yellow cake mix - dry
1/3 c butter, soft
1 egg
3 c mini marshmallows
2/3 c corn syrup
1/4 c butter
2 t vanilla
1- 10 oz. package peanut butter chips
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I just use a big spooned scoop out of the jar but I'm guessing it's around 1/3 cup)
2 c Rice Krispies (generic brands are fine!)
2 c salted dry roasted peanuts

Combine the dry cake mix with the butter and egg in a mixing bowl.  Press into a lightly sprayed 9X13 inch pan.  Bake at 350 about 13-15 minutes - you don't want it to be too brown or dry around the edges.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the 3 cups of marshmallows on top of the crust.  Place it back into the oven for a few minutes until the marshmallows start to puff up.  Then remove and let cool while you make the topping layer.

In a saucepan, place the corn syrup, butter, vanilla and peanut butter chips - cook over a medium to medium low heat until melted.  Add the scoop of peanut butter and stir smooth.  Add the peanuts and cereal.  Spoon the topping over the marshmallows. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

Years ago, before I started to use a yellow cake mix for the crust, I used this for the base:

3/4 cup butter
2/3 c brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking soda

Beat the butter and sugar with the egg yolks and vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and add to the butter/sugar mixture.  Mix until blended and crumbly.  Press into a 9X13" pan and bake approximately 12 minutes; top with the marshmallows and bake another 3 minutes.  Continue with the recipe as above.

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