I have this theory that anything you make from scratch will automatically be better than something you buy in the store, by sheer virtue of being created as opposed to 'engineered'. Consistency is the enemy of delicious.
So you love Pearson's Salted Nut Roll right? Me too, but probably because it's just a poor substitute for these salted nut rolls my grandmother used to make from her 'secret recipe'. However, if I know my grandmother 'secret' means 'off the back of the condensed milk can'.
This is the 'easy' version, which concentrates on taste and prep time as opposed to looking pretty.
Step 1: Hardware
This is a low maintenance recipe, so you need very little that will need washed.
You will need the following utensils:
- Microwave safe bowl (you can do this on the stove in pan, but the microwave is faster)
- Rubber spatula
- Waxed or butcher's paper
- Measuring cup
- 9x13 Pan
Step 2: Ingredients
Let's start by examining the Pearson's ingredient list
Peanuts, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Reduced Lactose Whey (milk derived), Salt, Coconut Oil, Natural And Artificial Vanilla Flavoring, Soy Lecithin, Soy Protein, Invertase, And TBHQ Added To Help Protect Flavor.
Ok, the first two sound fine, peanuts and sugar, but WTF is the rest of that stuff? Bad flavors, that's what. Granted there are some preservatives in the marshmallows and reese's chips, but markedly less of them; and they could be substituted with 'friendly' versions if you live near a hippie grocery store.
So the ingredients are:
- 10 oz Peanuts
- 2.5C Mini Marshmallows (You can substitute quartered large size, but that's a lot of work)
- 10oz Peanut butter chips
- Small can sweetened condensed milk
- 3 Tablespoons butter
Step 3: Pan Prep
Get your pan ready, because once you get started with the sticky stuff you will want to be ready to go.
1) Line the pan with waxed paper
2) Dump half of your nuts into the bottom of the pan and distribute evenly.
Now set this aside and prep the gooey center. Steps 4-7 will need to be done fairly quickly, and adding the nuts before hand helps keep things straight.
(OH NO! My photo of 'nuts in pan' is lost, but you can imagine it. Or go to step 7 and see the 'adding' action shot)
Step 4: Mix Butter and Peanut Chips
Place the peanut better chips and the butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on HIGH for about 1 minute. The mixture should be plenty gooey and should stir together quite nicely, giving a nice even consistency.
Step 5: Sweetened Condensed Milk
Now add the sweetened condensed milk and heat again for the same amount of time it took before, and stir again to an even consistency. If you don't do the steps in this order, the SCM and butter won't mix right, and you will get a grainy consistency.
As a side note: Sweetened Condensed Milk is clearly ambrosia. I eat it with a spoon on occasion.
Step 6: Add Some Mallow
Add the marshmallows to the smoothened mixture (hey, it's a word).
If the mixture is still very hot, you may want to let it cool a bit. The concept here is to get the marshmallows soft and integrated, but not melted. The wholeness of the mallows is the key to this recipe.
Step 7: Nut Sandwich
The 'easy' version of the nut rolls involves making a layered pan of 'rolls' rather than actually rolling out bars.
So quickly dump your warmed mallow mixture onto the previously layered nuts, then dump the rest of the nuts on top of the mixture.
It is imperative here that you get a good mixture distribution during the pour. It is extremely difficult to move the mixture around after it has been poured, as it messes up the bottom layer of nuts.
Step 8: Mushandwait
Add a new layer of waxed paper to the top and mush things up to get good integration of the nuts, you want to squeeze some sticky mixture between all the nuts so the bars will stick together. Now just wait, the mixture will need to cool to room temp (or colder). Put it in the fridge if you're impatient.
Step 9: Turn Out
Once the mix is cool, uncover it and let it air out for 1-2 hours. The mix will start to get a nice less sticky outside (I feel weird calling it a rind).
After it is slightly less stickyfied, turn it out on something and let it dry out a bit more. After about a day you will be able to eat it without needing to lick your fingers clean.
I always eat them in the 'fresh' state anyway.
There will be some un-integrated peanuts that you can mash back into the roll, or save as peanut augmentation to cover sticky spots after cutting.
Step 10: EAT!
Slice these into squares and let them rind over, then they are ready for eating! YES!
After I made that big stink about preservatives, I feel as though I should mention that you have to eat these relatively quickly, I think the longest they lasted before drying out was about a week; though they will rarely last that long without being eaten.