Caramel, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Chocolate Bon Bon!

I was in the candy aisle craving a goodie, as usual, I wanted something sweet, yet salty, chocolatey, yet crunchy.  Couldn’t find what I was in the mood for, so I went home and came up with this recipe.  I love all of the above items, so why not put them into one monster size Bon Bon!  Now the definition of a Bon Bon is a small candy, so we are stretching the meaning a little, these are definitely not a small bite.  Let’s get started!

Caramel Candy

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 1/2 Tblsp Butter (cut into pieces)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Tblsp Water

Melt the heavy cream and butter together, set aside.  Put the rest of the ingredients into a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir until sugar is melted. Now swirl the pan until the sugar turns a light caramel color, take it off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter mixture.  STEP BACK! THIS WILL BUBBLE UP!  Put back on the burner, simmer on a low flame.  If you have a candy thermometer insert it now, you want to bring it up to 248 degrees.  I do not have a thermometer, so I have a bowl with water and ice cubes to test my sugar.  Stir frequently, in three minutes let’s test the sugar.  Put a drop of sugar into the ice water,using your fingers pick up the cool sugar to see the consistency.  When the sugar comes together into a ball and it semi-soft it is ready.

This only takes about five minutes from the time that you pour in the cream and butter mixture, so don’t walk away from the stove, you have to babysit your sugar!

Pour the caramel into a stainless steel bowl and set over a bowl filled with ice water.  Stirring often, we want to cool down the caramel so we can roll it into balls.

While that is cooling take 8 oz of pretzels and crush them in a cuisanart.  We want to keep some texture to them, so don’t finely crush ’em!

When the caramel is room temperature take one teaspoon of caramel and roll it into the crushed pretzels.  You will get 16 caramel balls. Put them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.  If they are still warm they will flatten, let them cool a little and re-roll into balls before you put them into the freezer.  While they are setting up let’s go ahead and make the peanut butter layer to wrap over the caramel balls.

Yummy Peanut Butter Dough

  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (Remember choosy bakers choose Jif)
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup finely crushed Graham Crackers (one half of 1 packet)

Melt the butter, put into a bowl with the paddle attachment.  Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Then add the powdered sugar and graham crumbs, incorporate them.  Take a taste, there will be some extra for you!  Reminds me of the inside of a Reese Peanut Butter Cup, see why I call it yummy!

Take the caramel balls out of the freezer.  Using about 1 Tblsp of peanut butter dough wrap it around the caramel ball.  Now roll this into the crushed pretzels.  Place them back into the freezer.

We will now make the final coating for our caramel peanut butter balls.

Chocolate Dip

  • 16 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tblsp Crisco

Put these ingredients into a bowl, microwave for one minute.  Take out and stir.  Now microwave for another 20 seconds.  Take out and stir thoroughly.

Remove the candies from the freezer, using a fork dip the ball into the chocolate to coat.  Don’t use your hands, I tried this and it was a mess. (not that I didn’t enjoy licking the chocolate off of my fingers)  I used another fork to maneuver the ball back onto the tray.

Now sprinkle the tops with more crushed pretzels.  You can set them back into the freezer to set up for five minutes.  They can be stored at room temperature.

Look at layers.  The chewy caramel center, with the pretzel crunch, smooth peanut butter with the pretzel crunch, then the rich chocolate coating.  This sure got me shaking my “Bon Bon” back to the plate for just one more!


Since it has been very hot lately, I have been in the mood for a s’mores.  I didn’t want to light a grill to make them so I thought of an easier way to get the taste I was looking for.  Let me show you how I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Spray the sides and top of a 12 piece tartlet pan.  About 2 1/2″ each round tartlet.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers (from a box) pulsated to a fine crumb
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 oz melted Butter

Mix together.  Then pat into your tartlet pan, up the sides too.  Bake for 8 minutes, they will be golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (melted)
  • 5 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1/4 Cup Half N’ Half
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (choosy bakers choose Jif!)

Put the egg yolks into a medium size stainless steel bowl.  Put the bowl over a medium flame on the stovetop.  Using a wire whisk, mix continuously.  If the eggs start to curdle take the bowl off the heat, keep whisking and add in the water.  Put back onto flame and whisk until thickened.  Like a hollandaise sauce.  Take off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Strain this through a fine mesh sieve.  Pushing down on the egg mixture to ensure you get it all.  This will strain out any of the curdled egg. (not a texture you want in this dessert!)  Next whisk in the half n’ half, and then the melted chocolate.  Whisk so that this is well incorporated.  Now whisk in the room temperature Jif, make sure to blend well.

I used an ice cream scoop to put the filling into the graham crusts, a spoon would work too.  Smooth the tops and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  You can make these a couple of days in advance, then just make the marshmallow topping the day you want to use them.

Homemade Marshmallow Topping (no jarred Fluff, Please!)

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package of Unflavored Gelatin (Knox)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla

Put the packet of unflavored gelatin and the water into your mixer bowl, stir with a spoon.  Put the whisk attachment onto your mixer.

Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and dash of salt into a heavy saucepan.  Put this onto a medium high flame.  Have on hands two bowls, one with ice water to test sugar, and one with water and a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan.  Don’t stir, just brush down sides with wet pastry brush so that you do not get any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan.  

Bring sugars up to 240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer.  I do not, so the old way is wait until the sugars boil, then drizzle some sugar into the ice water bowl.  The sugar will sink to the bottom, pick it up with your fingers and roll it.  If the sugar rolls into a soft ball, then it is ready.  If not wait another minute and try the test again.  The sugar will still be clear and at a rapid boil.  Take off the heat.  Remember this is extremely hot and sticky and will give you a nasty burn!  Be very careful!  

Put your mixer on low speed and pour the hot sugar down the inside of the bowl over the gelatin mixture. You do not want the sugar coming in contact with the whisk of the mixer, because it will splatter hot sugar at you.  Once all the sugar is poured, kick the mixer up to high.  Let it beat for 15 minutes.  It is pretty cool to watch the clear sugar turn into white fluffy marshmallow.  This is because the whisk attachment is aerating the hot sugar and cooling it off.  (Photo is looking into the mixer.)

After the 15 minutes, turn off mixer and add the vanilla extract.  Mix in for another minute.  The mixture will be warm, let it cool a little longer in the bowl, about fifteen minutes, then scoop it into a pastry bag, just cut the tip. ( I piped the marshmallow when it was warm and it didn’t hold its shape as well as when it was cooler.)  Pipe the mixture over the tarts, try to stay away from the sides, this will make for easy de-panning of the tarts.

You want to brown the marshmallow tops in a broiler, watch them carefully. A kitchen torch would be super if you have one.  They will burn quickly just like a marshmallow over a campfire.  I rather like mine burnt and crunchy on top!  I had to eat one without the marshmallow topping, craving was too strong!

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  To release the tarts take a spatula and run it around each tart to loosen them.  Eat them now or they can be kept in refrigerator for a day. (The dark brown looks like a smiley face, kind of!)

Gooey marshmallow, creamy chocolate peanut butter and a brown sugar graham crust.  Sit around the kitchen table and sing “Kumbayay” while eating these Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores Tartlets!

Here is a tip:  I have had a few of these in the refrigerator, out of curiosity I put one into the microwave for 20 seconds, it turns into a warm gooey s’mores, give it a try!

P.B. & Jelly Sweet Roll

I had a craving for a cinnamon bun, so I pulled out a recipe that I have been wanting to try for a while now. The recipe is from bon appetite, March 2009 issue, it’s called Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls. I know it may sound odd to add one pound of mashed yukon gold potatoes to a sweet roll recipe, but think of the texture of potato bread. Potato bread is soft and almost moist tasting, well this is how this sweet roll dough tastes. I must say I have been looking for a yummy cinnamon roll recipe for a long time, and this one is the best I have ever tasted. I was impressed with the texture and taste of this dough that I wanted to change the filling and the glaze.  I love a P.B. & Jelly and I think a lot of people do, so what about a sweet roll, same dough, but change the filling to peanut butter and top it with a black raspberry glaze! Hmmm… Let me tell you the recipe for the filling and the glaze, you be the judge of this spin on a P.B.& Jelly sweet roll.

Make the Yukon Gold Cinnamon Roll recipe, don’t change a thing with this, but use my recipes for the filling and the glaze.

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 2 2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 6 Tblsp flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (creamy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix until crumbly, substitute this for the cinnamon filling. Proceed with directions in recipe.

Let buns cool until lukewarm, then ice with Black Raspberry Glaze, you can use any flavor of jam that you like, I am a fanatic for black raspberry.

Jelly Glaze

  • 4 Cup Powder sugar
  • 1/4 Cup softened butter (half a stick)
  • 1/2 Cup Black Raspberry Jam Seedless (not jelly, jam is thicker!)

Mix together on low speed until combined, scrape sides of bowl, then mix on high speed for 3 minutes. It will be a thick glaze, more like a butter cream.

Eat them while warm and don’t forget a tall glass of milk.  Now close your eyes and you should feel like a kid again. P.B.& Jelly sweet roll with a glass of cold milk, it doesn’t get any better than this!