Once again, the fine folks of Southside Christian Church have served as worthy taste testers for my latest recipe. In this case, I placed a couple of plastic containers full of these little gems in the narthex. I share my concoctions there for 2 reasons:
1. My S.O. and I donâ€™t need the extra calories attached to our behinds.
2. The one thing I can count on with the fine folks of Southside Christian Church is a definite opinion!
By the time I finished my postlude and reached the narthex area, the plastic containers were completely void of content. When I asked for opinions, all I got was the sound of licked fingers and smacked lips. I took that as taste tester code for success.
So what are PB & J Caramel Chewies? Well, I started with the basic recipe that I use for my Christmas Wreaths and Easter Egg Nests, and added some pretzels.
I included them because the 2 ingredients for our Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge this month are pretzels and caramel. So of course Chewies came to mind! I figured the pretzels would be just enough salt and crunch to complement the chewy peanut butter caramel. And I had been thinking about doing some kind of PB & J variation of them here lately anyway. But I didnâ€™t want to put any olâ€™ jelly in the middle; I wanted a fresh strawberry jammy-like filling.
The next quandary was the shape. I wanted it to be small enough for a person to pop in their mouth in one bite; but it had to be a vessel that could house some of that beautiful ruby jeweled jam. When I tried to create the cups free-form on a cookie sheet, it was a slow process. Time is of the essence when it comes to making Chewies, because the mixture sets up rather quickly. So I grabbed a mini muffin pan, threw a hunk of the caramel mixture into each cup and gave it a quick dimple with the handle of my wooden spoon. It worked! After letting them set for about 30 minutes, I was able to fill each cup with the strawberries. The only thing left was to wait for the test results at church.
fresh or frozen (and thawed) diced strawberries
fresh lemon juice
light corn syrup
creamy peanut butter
Special K cereal
pretzel sticks that have been broken into thirds
In This Recipe
In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch and ¼ cup sugar. Add strawberries and lemon juice. Combine well. Bring mixture to a boil and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool (mixture will thicken more as it cools).
In another medium saucepan, heat remaining ½ cup sugar and corn syrup over medium high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Add cereal and pretzels and mix until well coated. Press by tablespoonfuls into the cups of a 24-cup nonstick mini muffin pan. Using the handle of the wooden spoon, make an indentation in the middle of each cup, being careful to not create a hole at the bottom. Let cool in the mini muffin pan for about a ½ hour until cups are firm. Then remove the cups from the pan and fill with strawberry jam. Serve immediately.