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CT LIVE!: Homemade Take 5 Dessert Bars

Homemade Take 5 Dessert Bars


  • 1 large bag small twisted pretzels, salted
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups cocktail peanuts
  • 1 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. 60% baking chocolate
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pretzel Crust

  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed
  • 12 Tbsp. (1 ½ sticks) melted unsalted butter 

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. In a food processor, add pretzels and pulse until they become very fine. Measure out 2 cups of crushed pretzels and pour into a bowl. Slowly add in melted butter until the mixture comes together. (It won't exactly resemble a ball of dough, but you should be able to press the mixture together without it crumbling. If it seems too dry, add it a little more melted butter).

3. Press mixture evenly into an ungreased 11x7" baking pan. Use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to ensure the crust is tightly packed and uniform. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes then keep covered with plastic wrap in your refrigerator until assembly time.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, diced small
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, add sugar and begin to stir over a medium heat. After at least 5 minutes, the sugar will begin to liquefiy and turn to an amber color. Continue stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir often, so as not to burn the sugar before it all breaks down.

2. When the sugar has completely dissolved and turns to a golden amber color, carefully add cubed butter. Warning: the sugar will violently bubble! Turn down the heat to avoid over-caramelization. Slowly mix the butter and sugar with a whisk.

3. Once the butter has melted, slow pour in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Again, the mixture will bubble fervently, but fear not that's what you're looking for. Whisk the caramel together until it is uniformly smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool for at least 15 minutes before handling.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup 60% chocolate chips or baking bars
  • 1 cup heavy cream

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, add chocolate and heavy cream. Whisk continuously over a low-medium heat until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth.

2. Turn off the heat and set aside until time to use.

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 1 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and spreadable.


1. Take the pan with the cooled pretzel crust out of the refrigerator. Start by layering the peanut butter filling, using an offset spatula to spread filling gently and evenly across the crust.

2. Place pretzels down in even horizontal rows across the filling. Press just so that they stick to the filling.

3. Cover the pretzels and peanut butter layer with caramel sauce. Use a clean offset spatula to spread the caramel. Stick in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to just set slightly. It should be sticky to the touch.

4. Take out of the refrigerator and liberally sprinkle cocktail peanuts on top of the caramel. They should be in a single even layer across the caramel, again pressing down just so that they stick. Place back in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

5. Take out of the refrigerator and spread chocolate ganache across the top. Ganache should not be hot but warm enough to spread evenly.

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