These are the bars that gave me the nickname of "The Sugar Queen". After reading the recipe you'll probably be able to tell why. However, in my defense: I only make them once or twice a year, they make a huge amount since I cut them very small, and I make them at Christmas-time to give away as gifts. They're always appreciated ... or at least I'm told so! They taste pretty close to the real thing, too! Just in case you're thinking "No way, could I use that much pwd sugar in the filling!" ~ you can use less, and I have; it will be softer, is all. So feel free to adapt this recipe as you see fit. Oh, and you can easily make these without the nuts, too, as seen in the bars pictured on the right.
1 (12-oz) pkg milk chocolate chips ... I use 2 pkgs of chocolate chips
1 (12-oz) pkg butterscotch chips ... I use 2 pkgs of butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter ... I use up to 1 cup since I'm using more chocolate and butterscotch chips
2 cups salted peanuts
1 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 (3-oz) pkg Cook & Serve vanilla pudding mix, NOT instant
2 lbs (7 1/2 cups) pwd sugar (may use less - in fact, I always use much less and prefer it that way- I'd say I use a good 2 cups less - use your judgement)
1 tsp vanilla (I use maple flavoring, and often will double the amount)
Butter a jelly roll pan. (Note: I line the pan with parchment paper, cutting it down to size, but leaving it long enough on the short sides, so that the bars can be lifted out of the pan. This will make for much easier cutting and removal from the pan.)
In a saucepan, melt together the chocolate and butterscotch chips, over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until it is melted and mixture is smooth. Spread half of the chocolate mixture into the bottom of the prepared jelly roll pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling. Stir the peanuts into the remaining chocolate mixture and set aside, but keep warm.
In another saucepan, melt the butter. Slowly add the evaporated milk. Stir in the pudding mix. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in the pwd sugar and vanilla. (This step can be done with an electric mixer, to make nice and smooth.) Cool slightly.
Carefully spread the Filling over the chilled chocolate layer. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Warm up the remaining chocolate mixture and drop by spoonfuls onto the Filling layer. Spread to cover. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
Remove the bars from the pan by lifting out by the overhanging parchment paper. If you do not do this, the bars have a tendency to separate when you try to remove them. You can use waxed paper if you don't have parchment paper. Cut into small bars and store in a tightly covered container.