Saturday, May 19, 2012

K Bars




Yum

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.

K Bars

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?

31 comments:

  1. OK, gotta say I've never heard of Zwieback Toast as a comfort food ... except for babies. For that matter, they're hard to come by now! I bake a cake that calls for dusting the pan with Zwieback crumbs, but Nabisco stopped making them, and others aren't as good (at least to me). :(

    As for these bars, they sound awesome! My college roommate's Mom introduced me to them years ago, but without the frosting. I haven't made them in a while because I will eat the WHOLE TRAY!! I definitely agree about the Special K too. I think they have a better texture than other cereals for these bars. I'll have to remember the frosting next time. ;)

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    1. HaHa, Chris, my brother-in-law loved Zwieback...and Junket, and tomato soup with marshmallows. They always stop making the good stuff, don't they? Btw, the frosting is sooo good on this. :)

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  2. I would have to share these...or else I'd eat the entire pan. This is like all my favorite flavors in one handy bite. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!!

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    1. Wendy, I took 3 pieces and the rest went to my daughter and her boyfriend. She is still cursing me. :D

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  3. Amazing! I've never heard of K bars. But, I'm going to have to correct this horrible error.

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    1. This is good stuff, Jen. You won't be sorry.

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  4. These sound incredible! Congratulations on top 9 today. :)

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  5. My comfort food is Italian pasta dishes, but these look good. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

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  6. Hi There, Congratulations for Top 9 !!!!!!
    Wow...this recipe is looking so Appetizing. A very well made post with beautiful pictures. I can't wait to try it on my island. Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

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  7. Congrats on the Top 9. My grandma made Special K bars and the recipe is one of my faves! Slightly different than your version but very similar. Recipe is on my site and they are one of my favorite bars!

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  8. Oh and I grew up in MN and my grandma was from rural WI and then lived in the Mpls area her adult life...so these bars definitely have midwestern roots!

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    1. I'm heading over to check out your site...I love that your grandma made them. They bring back such great memories. :)

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  9. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but went to college in MN. I'd never heard of Special K Bars until I got to college, and they turned out to be one of my all time favorite desserts, probably because they remind me of fun times and Spring in Minnesota (which deserves celebration). One of my favorite college memories was taking extra Special K Bars from the caf and walking to the local park with my friends after dinner. We'd eat our decadent Special K Bars & take turns on the merry-go-round. Laughing so much that all of us had tears streaming down our cheeks. Thanks to this recipe, I'm making Special K Bars and sending to my friends from St. Olaf College. Thank you!

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    1. How cool is that?! My college roommate was just remembering how we made these at our apartment. Such great times. :)

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  10. I've never heard of a K Bar, although they look similar to krispy treats, except for the peanut butter. They look really good. I am not from the midwest, most likely the reason I haven't heard of them. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. K Bars look yummy:) I like the fact they are easy to make. Thanks for a great post and congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9!

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  12. Congratulations on your foodbuzz top 9, today!

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  13. I aw this recipe in taste of food a few years ago and its been a favorie of my families ever since the first time ive made it.

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  14. Congrats on foodbuzz top 9 my friend :D
    You deserve to eat a whole batch of these!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  15. Congrats on yesterdays top 9! I can see exactly why it was chosen-I cannot think of anyone who would not want to indulge in these-yum!

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  16. With all that Special K these must be really, really healthy. Right? Right. They look amazing.

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  17. I was introduced to the Scotcheroo version as a teenager. I have had both now. I find them utterly addicting and wonderful. I got to the point where I was melting chocolate and butterscotch chips in little bowls and eating it by the spoonful before I had an intervention for myself.

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  18. These bars are definitely one of my comfort foods as well and yours look particularly chewy, gooey and delicious! I noticed that you are also attending TECHmunch this weekend and I look forward to meeting you there!

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    1. Looking forward to meeting you, too, Mercedes---it's going to be a great time! :)

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  19. My mother's German Potato Dumpling recipe that she used for her Sauerbraten dinner had Special K Cereal in them. That was in the 60's. I have searched on the Internet and couldn't find that recipe. I have her recipe but it is faded and ripped and has food stains on it so I can't read the ingredient amounts now. All I know is that those dumplings were light and absolutely delicious. Better than any others I have ever eaten. Anyone have that recipe???? Thanks.

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  20. I inherited an old recipe box loaded with recipes from the 60's & 70's and it has 3 Kellogg's recipe cards each one with the K Bar recipe on it. The copyright date on the cards say 1963. When I make them I substitute Rice Krispies because that's what our family prefers. You can't go wrong with the peanut butter & chocolate combination in my book!

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    1. Is your 1963 recipe the same as the recipe above?

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