Caramel Peanut Slices are a no-bake confection consisting of caramel, peanut butter, rice krispies cereal, chocolate, and chopped peanuts. Working in layers, it is rolled into a log and chilled until set. The log is cut into slices before being served. These cookies are irresistible and one of my all-time favourite Christmas treats!
I cannot tell you how many of these I ate in my childhood. My Aunt Beryl used to make these almost every weekend. She was well-known for being one of the town’s best bakers. In fact, I remember one time, she baked about 1500 cookies, consisting of many varieties, for a wedding dessert table! She called her version Caramel Logs and so did my mom. But, I call them Caramel Peanut Slices because they’re so much more than just caramel!
Growing up, it was a very common practice for us to go to church three times a day on Sundays. We were Apostolic and there was a Sunday morning church service, followed by Sunday School for the kids in the afternoon, and then a Sunday night service as well. The nighttime service was better attended and I looked forward to that one. I hated going to church on a Sunday morning. I felt that the sermon was always aimed at older people, and with there being a smaller congregation, it was rather boring.
Another reason I favoured the evening service was because I knew as soon as it was over, me and my family would head to my Aunt Beryl’s house. She would always serve what could be considered a full meal even though it would have been close to 10pm when we arrived. There was always leftover cold plates that she would serve. And, then came the sweets! She would have various sweets including coconut cream pie, mint squares, snowballs, and caramel logs, just to mention a few. It’s no wonder I looked forward to church on Sunday night!
I used to think that the term no-bake meant that a recipe was more of an assembly-type recipe. Sometime like a salad, for example. It sounds simple enough, right? Toss the lettuce and any other veggies you want into a bowl. Top it with cheese, croutons, avocado, hard boiled egg, etc. Add some dressing and you’re all done! But, no-bake actually just means no baking. There still might be some stove-top cooking needed – or even a microwave, for that matter.
To prepare these Caramel Peanut Slices, you will need to use your stove top. So, even though they’re no-bake and kid-friendly, you will need to turn on the stove. But, it’s only to melt the corn syrup and sugar together so that a caramel base forms. It’s very hot and can be very bubbly too, so please be careful! Hot syrupy, sugary caramel will burn badly if you splash it onto your skin.
Some other no-bake type holiday recipes you might enjoy are these Rudolph’s Red Nose Cookies. Hairy Moose Droppings are delicious and always quite the conversation starter! Just like these Caramel Peanut Slices were a favourite of my mom’s so were these Marshmallow Coconut Balls and so were these Christmas Crunch Cookies. You can find many more no-bake cookie recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen by using the search field at the top of this page.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THESE COOKIES
This recipe comes together by layering one mixture on top of another and then rolling the two of them into a log. The chocolate layer will disperse itself throughout the cookie without completely changing the colour of the caramel layer. To make things easier, I’ll break the ingredients down into both layers.
Before I forget to mention it, this recipe is neither my mom’s or my Aunt’s. This recipe came from another wonderfully, talented Newfoundland baker. Her name is Alvena and she has a recipe group on Facebook. Click here if you’d like to join!
- Corn Syrup – There are a lot of misconceptions about corn syrup, because one of them is bad for you and the other one is just liquid sugar extracted from corn. We are using that latter, which won’t hurt anyone in moderation.
- Sugar – Just plain granulated sugar is what you will need for this recipe. It will be used to prepare a caramel – well, almost!
- Peanut Butter – I have not tested this recipe with natural peanut butter. Use smooth peanut butter to make the “caramel” mixture easier to work with.
- Butter – Use salted butter. It will balance out the sweetness slightly.
- Rice Krispies Cereal
- Milk – Whenever I bake, I always use whole milk unless instructed to do otherwise. I have not tested this recipe with milk alternatives.
- Confectioner’s Sugar – This superfine sugar is sometimes called powdered sugar. It is used in frostings quite often. When dusted lightly onto cakes and cookies, it adds just a touch of sweetness, but more importantly, it looks very visually appealing!
- Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder is an unsweetened chocolate product which adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages. Use a good quality cocoa powder, not the kind we used to stir into milk as kids!
- Butter – Use salted butter. As I stated above, it will balance out the sweetness slightly.
- Chopped Salted Peanuts – These are optional, but I love the crunch of the salted peanut bits in contrast to the crisp of the rice cereal.
MORE CHRISTMAS CONFECTIONS!
Maybe you don’t care much for Cherry Spritz Cookies. Or, maybe you’re impatient and can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s recipe will be! If either one of those applies to you, I have a remedy. Last year, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Biscotti of Christmas. The year before that, I published a series called Lord Byron’s 12 Bundt Cakes of Christmas. And, just a few days ago, I finished this year’s mini series call Lord Byron’s 12 Truffles of Christmas. You can click on the image below and see the entire series on one page! Don’t worry, you won’t lose this page. It will open up a new page so that you can easily get back to these cookies!
WHAT IS CORN SYRUP?
I’m not an expert on corn syrup, so I sourced this information from the Food Network. They write that corn syrup is made from corn. The glucose in the corn is extracted and then refined. That leaves behind a thick and gooey light golden syrup that is purely glucose. Corn syrup should not be confused with high fructose corn syrup. They are two very different things. The latter is a combination of both glucose and fructose, whereas grocery store corn syrup is just glucose.
The type of corn syrup you buy in grocery stores will dissolve well in liquids and doesn’t crystalize like many other sweeteners. It’s very often used in candy making and for keeping sweet sauces looking shiny. Most of the beautifully decorated cookies you eat at Christmastime will have corn syrup in the icing to keep it looks glossy. Some baked items use it to help with the consistency of the final product.
If you are 100% against using corn syrup, a quick internet search will suggest some alternatives that you can use. It is suggested that the best alternative is agave syrup. It’s neutral in flavour, so it would be a good choice. Honey is a close second choice and one that most of us are familiar with. Honey has a flavour to it though, so it will affect the overall outcome of your Caramel Peanut Slices. I have not tested this recipe with anything and I have only ever used the Crown brand. You can use the white or the golden corn syrup for this recipe.
LET’S TALK PEANUT BUTTER!
Before you are tempted to send me an email or a comment knocking my choice for peanut butter that is not natural and organic, hear me out! This recipe has not been tested with with natural peanut butter. I repeat, this recipe has not been tested with natural peanut butter. To be honest, because natural peanut butter is very thin, I don’t think it will work. There, I said it. Now, if you go ahead and make this recipe using natural peanut butter and it turns out to be a big, wet mess, you cannot blame me.
John.e uses only natural peanut butter, but I do not. I do not like it at all. Yes, it’s healthier and better for me, but I’d rather not eat it at all if I have to choose the natural stuff. I grew up on Kraft or Jiffy peanut butter and it’s the only peanut butter I ever use.
For these Caramel Peanut Slices, you should use smooth peanut butter. The smooth type will melt into the syrup and sugar mixture much better. Besides, we’re adding chopped peanuts to the recipe anyway! If you are completely against using non-natural peanut butter, as harsh as it may sound, this recipe is most certainly not for you.
OPTIONAL CHOPPED PEANUTS
When it comes to peanuts, you can use raw, natural peanuts. I happen to think that the roasted peanuts have more flavour. You can always toast your raw peanuts in a dry skillet over medium heat if you wish. I prefer to use salted peanuts. The salted peanuts really help to offset the sweetness and adds another layer of flavour. If you prefer, Trader Joe’s has a roasted, 50% salted peanut that is absolutely phenomenal!
To roast (or toast) your peanuts, add the to a cold, stainless steel frying pan. I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you buy the same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results will plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting nuts. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner. Keep the nuts moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The nuts will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
HOW TO MAKE CARAMEL PEANUT SLICES
As previously mentioned, this recipe comes together in steps. The first step is to prepare the caramel base. To do this, add the corn syrup and sugar to a sauce pan and over medium heat, warm the two together until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture is bubbling, remove it from the heat and add in the peanut butter and the butter. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until you have a smooth, thick, caramel-like sauce.
Add the Rice Krispies Cereal and fold into the sauce mixture until mixed thoroughly. Dump the mixture out onto a parchment lined 13 x 18 inch baking sheet. Use the spatula to spread the mixture out and to flatten it. If the mixture is cool enough to touch, you can use your hands to push and flatten the cereal mixture to fit the pan. Set aside.
TIPS & TRICKS: I always use my hands when spreading a sticky mixture into a pan, if the temperature of the mixture allows, that is. In this case, fetch a scant amount of butter and massage it into your palms. This will prevent your hands from sticking to the caramel mixture, and as a result, make the spreading so much easier.
Next, in a clean saucepan, add the milk and butter and over medium heat, scald the milk until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Once completely mixed together, pour this over the bottom half of the flatten cereal mixture. Use a spatula or pastry brush to spread it around so that the bottom half is completely covered. Sprinkle over the chopped peanuts.
Using the parchment paper as an aid, lift the lower, chocolate-coated side and roll the layers into a tight log. Once a log is formed, roll the log into the parchment paper and then roll into a sheet of plastic wrap. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate for 40-60 minutes to firm up. When firm, use a serrated knife to cut into third of an inch slices.
MORE CHRISTMAS RECIPES!
Did you know that I’ve been posting a 24 Cookies of Christmas series for a few years now? There are over 100 Christmas cookie recipes that you can find right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen! To make it easier to find, I have created a page for each series. Just click on the image below and you’ll find the full series for that volume all one page!
STORING, PACKAGING, & FREEZING
When it comes to most cookies, they taste best at room temperature, but they don’t hold up well to being left out on your countertop for long periods of time. Cookies will stay fresh in a cookie jar or food-safe container with a lid for 3-5 days if left to sit on your kitchen countertop. You can store them in a food-safe container in your fridge. When you want one, two, or half a dozen, take them out of the container and place them in a single layer on a plate. Let them sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and they’re ready!
If you plan to freeze your Caramel Peanut Slices, you certainly can! Once they are completely cooled, pile them into a clean, food-safe container, separating each layer with parchment paper. The container must be freezer friendly! You’ll want to ensure a very tight fitting lid too. I use these quite often when freezing baked goods. I like to place a sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the container before pushing the lid on. This helps to create a better seal. The goal is to keep all of that freshness locked in!
You can freeze these cookies for up to three months. If you plan to give previously frozen cookies as a gift, I would lay them out onto a wire cooling rack to thaw completely. Once thawed, pile into cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or stack in a cookie tin/box.
If I have not answered all of your questions in the text above, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! You can contact me by sending me a message in the comments section further down the page. I will try my best to answer as soon as possible! You might reach me even faster by following me on Facebook and sending me a private message. Scroll down to follow me and never miss another recipe!
Finally, as I stated previously, every day I will be posting a new recipe. If you miss one, don’t fret. You can find my entire collection of Christmas Recipes right here! There are over 100 Christmas recipes and counting. There’s something for everyone! Cheers!
Caramel Peanut Slices
For the First Layer:
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 5 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
For the Second Layer:
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
- Add the corn syrup and sugar to a sauce pan and over medium heat, warm the two together until the sugar has dissolved. Once the mixture is bubbling, remove it from the heat and add in the peanut butter and the butter. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until you have a smooth, thick, caramel-like sauce.
- Add the Rice Krispies Cereal and fold into the sauce mixture until mixed thoroughly.
- Dump the mixture out onto a parchment lined 13 x 18 inch baking sheet. Use the spatula to spread the mixture out and to flatten it. If the mixture is cool enough to touch, you can use your hands to push and flatten the cereal mixture to fit the pan. Set aside.
- Next, in a clean saucepan, add the milk and butter and over medium heat, scald the milk until the butter has melted.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar. Once completely mixed together, pour this over the bottom half of the flatten cereal mixture. Use a spatula or pastry brush to spread it around so that the bottom half is completely covered.
- Sprinkle over the chopped peanuts.
- Using the parchment paper as an aid, lift the lower, chocolate-coated side and roll the layers into a tight log.
- Once a log is formed, roll the log into the parchment paper and then roll into a sheet of plastic wrap. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate for 40-60 minutes to firm up.
- When firm, use a serrated knife to cut into third of an inch slices.