It is time for another Saturday Chef Confession: I hate the heat. As much as I enjoy being free of coats and boats, and bright, colorful days, summer is my least favorite season. It is hot, humid and sticky, which leaves me grumpy, uncomfortable, and lazy. Don’t get me started on my fear of bathing suits and short shorts. I don’t want to turn on the stove to make scrambled eggs, let alone braise brisket that’s dangerously close to third-degree freezer burns.
This summer has been nothing but rolling heat waves and choking humidity. And I’m miserable.
I had to throw together a quick dessert for a work party. I was sick of boxed brownies mixes and we didn’t have a freezer to store ice cream or popsicles until party time. I also had a taste in my head, an amalgam of salty and sweet, rich and crunchy.
So I found a great recipe for Five Layer Bars. It seemed impossible to serve a dessert bar with no flour or eggs, but it all worked because of the wonders of heat. Yes, the heat that I despise thickened the sweetened condensed milk and it bounded the bar together. It reduced the chips to melty, gooey morsels and intensified the crunch and salt of the pecans.
Maybe the heat isn't so bad after all.
Five Layer Bars
Recipe by Paula Deen
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 jar Five Layer Bar Mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press evenly in a buttered glass 13 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle pecans, butterscotch and chocolate chips and coconut over graham cracker crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the layers. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Allow to cool almost completely and cut into bars.