What Kind of Cookie Do You Write: A Cookie for When You Need Power

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese Peanut-Caramel bars are the weapon of resort when you seriously need persuasion but it has not quite risen to the level of firearms. They will, I assure you, make strong men kneel and grouchy teens smile. They freeze like a dream, cut neatly, ship well, and are wonderfully durable. I have never yet kept a batch for more than 8 hours or so. The ones in this photograph, after their Kodak moment, are going into zip-loc bags and making a one-way trip to Afghanistan, where our armed forces will devour them in seconds. Peanuts, caramel, cream, butter and 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate morsels, what more could you ask for?

I got this recipe from the Washington Post some years ago, but in case you do not want to click through to the paper, here it is. The only tip I would add is that you should triple that 2 1/2 minute boiling time, or even more, to be sure that the caramel sets up good. Take it off the stove at the recommended time and the bars will be oozy and sticky.

Servings: 32 bars
  • For the crust
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the topping
  • 1 1/4 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels or mini-morsels


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil and coat the foil with nonstick spray oil.

For the crust: In a food processor, blend the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cream and vanilla extract and pulse just until the dough holds together, being careful not to overprocess. Press the dough firmly and evenly across the bottom of the baking dish and prick the crust all over with a fork. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just tinged with brown all over and slightly darker at the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the topping: In a heavy, medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, butter and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add 2 1/2 cups of the peanuts. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat so the mixture boils briskly. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the hot topping over the crust, covering the entire surface as evenly as possible and smoothing it with a greased table knife, if necessary. Let cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate morsels on top and let stand for a few more minutes or until the chocolate is partially melted. Using a table knife, spread the melted chocolate over the topping. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup peanuts on top. Let cool completely before cutting into bars about 1 1/2 by 2 1/4 inches.

The bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days or frozen for 2 months. Bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving.

The ebook version of my novel How Like a God is now available from Book View Cafe.

How Like a God, by Brenda W. CloughMy newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


What Kind of Cookie Do You Write: A Cookie for When You Need Power — 4 Comments

  1. My blood sugar spiked just reading the recipe. Next time I go to a party I’ll take these so I only have to eat 1 and have no leftovers. And I shall cherish every crumb.

  2. I had to eat one, too — how else to know if I made them correctly, eh? And my son insisted on one. But I was very very virtuous and put all the rest into a box to Bagram, immediately. It is important to ship chocolate items before the weather gets too hot over there.

  3. With mysterious and uncharacteristic fleetness, the APO system has delivered the bars to Bagram in ten days! And they are gone in minutes, but a memory. A demand has been made for more. I think this time I will also include a batch of lemon bars, another hi-cal but unutterably yum treat. My daughter reports that the cry for Girl Scout cookies was heard in the land, BTW. There are many many Thin Mints over there.