Aunt Peg’s Scotcharoo Bars

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Scotcharoo Bars are crunchy and sweet and chocolatey, perfect for dessert or afterschool snacks. Or sneaking out of the pan when your aunt is looking the other way.

Scotcharoo Bars

I spent my childhood summers traveling with my family from Los Angeles to Minnesota. Both my parents are from Minnesota and most of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents lived in the midwest.

While we did a lot of couch surfing back in those days, my Aunt Peg’s house was always a fun home base. Aunt Piggy (my toddler nickname for her) had a beautiful house and amazing food.

The years I most remember were the years when my cousins were teenagers and I was the tween looking up to them. They had all kinds of summer activities, sports, dates, parties, and Aunt Peg knew how to feed teenagers.

Summers were for the most part carefree, particularly when I got to eat at Aunt Peg’s house. I have a wonderful memory of her Scotcharoo Bars.

You see, Aunt Peg, like my Gramma John, had a basement kitchen. It was where she did her canning and had her big freezer, and stored her Scotcharoo Bars. She had a counter where she kept snacks, and one of those old-timey aluminum baking pans with the sliding lid.

I think I must have stayed at her house one day while my parents went visiting people. I remember hanging out in the cool basement, reading books and snacking on Scotcharoo Bars. I would eat one or two and slide the pan lid back closed.

Scotcharoo Bars (1)Eventually, I ate most of the pan. But, I didn’t tell anyone. Kids were always coming and going at Aunt Peg’s house. She came down to the basement for something, looked in the pan, and said something like, “My word. How did those kids eat all the bars?”

Now the secret’s out. It was me, Aunt Peg. They were really good!

In honor of carefree summers and good cooks, here’s Aunt Peg’s recipe for Scotcharoo Bars. May your days be filled with many a pan of them!

I made these recently and will have to admit that they are just as addicting as they were 30 years ago. Oh my! I had to let my kids eat them up before I wanted them to be gone, just so that I wouldn’t be tempted to eat more than I needed to. Ahem.

Since FishChick7 has a peanut allergy, I make these now with sunflower seed butter and all chocolate chips instead of butterscotch chips which can often contain nut allergens. While not exactly the same recipe, they are still amazingly good, and a fun nut-free dessert.

*This post was originally posted on June 26, 2008.

Scotcharoo Bars Life as Mom

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  1. Oh man, these are my biggest weakness. Something about the chocolate, butterscotch and peanut butter tastes melded with the Rice Krispies…I could eat the whole pan of them. I’ve frozen these in the past (yes, to keep from eating them all) and they hold up really well. I let them sit out until room temperature and they taste fresh.

  2. FishMama says:

    Great idea about freezing these. Thanks, Katie!

  3. Zimms Zoo says:

    our older neighbor brought some over to us and we had never had any before.
    They were so delicious.
    Any suggestions for a substitution on the corn syrup? We are trying to avoid that in all things. But I may have to make an exception for those.

    They would make great treats for a long afternoon of swimming.

  4. FishMama says:

    I wonder if you could do marshmellows and butter instead of sugar and corn syrup?? I think there’s corn syrup in marshmellows, but maybe you can find “healthier” marshmellows. Not sure.

  5. I just read a variation from someone on substituting one 10 oz bag of marshmallows for corn syrup and sugar, and 5 cups cereal and 1 cup peanuts for the 6 cups cereal

  6. Laurie in CA says:

    Oh my goodness, I have all of the ingredients in my pantry. I think my grandson is going to get a special treat this week (of course quality control will have to do a taste test before giving him any 😉 )

  7. My Gram made these with Special K (hence Special K bars), but without the butterscotch chips. That sounds like a super tasty addition!

  8. Oh yum! We make these with cornflakes and a dash of vanilla and they ARE addicting! Although we never put the chocolate on top. (I know, peanut butter and corn sounds weird together, but it’s surprisingly delicious.)

    I will have to give rice krispies (and chocolate) a try!

  9. I made these for a church potluck and they came out hard and brittle. Did I do something wrong? They tasted great, but I was afraid of breaking a tooth, so I tossed them and went with Plan B (chips and dip) for potluck.

  10. These are fabulous! My family and our guests loved them. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Thank you for the recipe. I subbed Lyle’s syrup instead of corn syrup with no issues. These are the best.

  12. Because of allergies, we substitute almond butter for peanut butter and use nut-free white chocolate chips (Private Selection from Kroger) in place of butterscotch chips. They’re wonderful that way. We find that the semi-sweet chips need to be cut somehow. Half milk chocolate chips works ok, but we like half semi-sweet/half white chocolate the best. My grandma used Special K, too. We use Aldi-brand rice krispies which are actually gluten free, unlike real rice krispies. We heat the sugar mix in a big bowl in the microwave–not too much or the bars will be brittle–and add the cereal right to the bowl. Fewer dishes!

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