Comfort food. It's different for everyone. From mac 'n cheese to meatloaf to Zwieback cookies, I've heard from many people about what kinds of food are considered comfort foods. This much is certain---whatever your comfort food is, it probably started out as a childhood favorite. So it is for one of my comfort foods, the K Bar.
Funny, I always thought the K Bar was unique to the Midwest. Indeed, it seems that the name K Bar (also known as the Special K Bar) is mostly used in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In other parts of the world, there is a similar bar that is called a Scotcheroo. From what I can gather, the recipe is the same but for the use of Rice Krispies rather than Special K. To me, that is a huge difference.
Those of you who have never heard of a K Bar might be surprised to see that Special K cereal is used for something so decadent. Indeed, when I tried to research the history behind the K Bar (I came up with nothing), most references were to the Special K Diet Bars (which, in my opinion, pale in comparison). My sister insists that they were invented by the mother of one of her childhood friends. She says that the recipe won a contest with the cereal company. I've heard more far-fetched stories, so maybe there is some truth to the rumor. Kellogg, after all, is the name behind the Scotcheroos recipe. Perhaps they swapped out the cereals when Special K went the diet route. Of course, others who grew up with K Bars will insist that members of their own families created this, and who would I be to argue? Best to leave the history piece alone and serve up a slice of your own deliciousness.
Don't most good things start with peanut butter?
Even among K Bar enthusiasts, there exist variations of the recipe. I like mine pretty gooey, so I cut back on the cereal a bit. Does anyone really want them to be dry? And the frosting on mine is a combination of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. I imagine the Scotcheroos were named for said butterscotch chips.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups Special K cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
Place cereal in large bowl and set aside.
Combine sugar and corn syrup in medium sized heavy saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture just comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.
Pour mixture over cereal and carefully stir with a rubber spatula.
I like using the foil pans. After all, you'll probably be bringing these to a potluck or a gathering of some sort...too dangerous to keep at home.
Spread mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips evenly over the top. Place in a 300 degree oven for just a few minutes until chips are soft.* Use a knife or spatula to spread chips together and frost bars.
Allow frosting to set, and cut into 24 to 36 bars.
*Alternately, melt the chips together over low heat or in microwave and then spread over bars. I like the less messy route.
I chilled mine to set this time, because it was warm in the kitchen. This makes it pretty hard, so let it sit out for a few minutes if you decide to do this.
What's your comfort food?