Don’t even get me started about scotcheroos.
Though I’ve lived in Colorado (and a couple other places) for most of my life, my native state is Iowa: land of fertile soils, endless political polling and the delicious scotcheroo dessert. I love the place.
Members of my extended family still live there, and on every visit we’re treated to at least one crispy-sweet pan of the scotcheroo’s peanut-buttery goodness.
The Des Moines Register once described scotcheroos as “like a Rice Krispie Treat on steroids,” and that’s pretty close. The scotcheroo base is a gooey Rice Krispie mixture, but instead of marshmallows, the bars are bound with peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup.
Here’s an Instagram photo of my aesthetic ideal of the scotcheroo, from food blogger Cinnamon and Coconut:
Another food blogger, Sam at Sugar Spun Run, gave the simple scotcheroo a mini-makeover. In Sam’s version, the classic chocolate-butterscotch topping gets some fancy swirls, and the bars have a few extra ingredients (butter, vanilla extract, salt).
The no-bake recipe is an easy one — heat up your sugars and butter, add peanut butter and Rice Krispies, melt some chocolate and butterscotch — but there’s one tricky bit.
When the sugar, corn syrup and butter are getting cozy on the stove, a watchful eye is key. The sugar mixture must be removed from heat just as it begins to boil. Or else, as Sam warns, your scotcheroos will come out dry and crumbly. We want ’em a little crisp, but also rich and chewy, too!
As for those elegant swirls, all you have to do is melt a few extra butterscotch chips. Just after adding the chocolate-butterscotch topping, drizzle plain melted butterscotch on top wherever you please.
Use a toothpick to swirl around the two toppings, and suddenly the humble homemade scotcheroo looks like a pro-bakery dessert.
Find the full Sugar Spun Run recipe here. And in case you’re wondering, the recipe my Aunt Ann uses at home in Iowa is the Karo Corn Syrup recipe, with just six ingredients.
Next time I’m homesick for Iowa, you’ll find me in the kitchen making scotcheroos!