Ben Bars

Well, it's about time I shared this recipe with you - plus it is fitting to share it on Father's Day. 

Ben Bars are so much more than just a simple dessert. I hope I can explain. And if not - family members please chime in.

If you grew up in northern Minnesota, you know the cultural importance of the "bar." They are at every church event, every family gathering, every potluck, every festival. They are the go-to dessert. And, you can't just have one kind of bar on a dessert tray. No. Half-a-dozen bar varieties is the norm. 

Therefore, it goes without saying that bars are the ultimate comfort food. They help us celebrate weddings; they mourn with us at funerals; they keep us company during the long winter months. They can be as elaborate as Seven Layer Bars or as simple as Ben Bars.

Ben Bars hold a special place in my heart because they were my brother's favorite bar recipe. I suspect not only for their taste, but also for their ease. My family has a habit of naming bars after people; to this day I still don't know the real name for Amy Bars (named after my cousin Amy's favorite ... or was it most hated?... bar recipe). 

My brother Ben died in a car accident 8 years ago, so making these bars is a way for my family and me to honor his memory. My mom tends to bring these to most family gatherings not only because they are so delicious, but also because it makes us smile to remember Ben while eating them. I sent some Ben Bars to my dad for Father's day since I couldn't be with him this year. 

Ben Bars require no baking and only have 3 ingredients. They take about 15 minutes (at the most) to put together, but they do taste better if they are chilled. Many people confuse these with Special K bars and wonder where the chocolate layer has gone. These are not Special K bars. 

The key to making fantastic Ben Bars is mixing the melted butterscotch chips and peanut butter into the rice crispies well. If you don't mix them well, you will have dry, crumbly bars in part of the pan and too-wet-to-hold bars in another part of the pan. This is not ideal. So, take the time to mix the bars well.

I was recently informed that a Ben Bar ice cream flavor may be in the works... to say I am intrigued and excited is an understatement. I am waiting impatiently for an update from scooponcones to hear the verdict! For now, enjoy the Ben Bars! ***UPDATE*** Read all about Ben Bar ice cream here!

Ben Bars
Makes about 25 bars, 15 minutes

6 cups rice crispies cereal
1 cup peanut butter
1 12 ounce package butterscotch chips
  1. Put the peanut butter and butterscotch chips in a medium glass bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir. Repeat until the chips are melted into the peanut butter.
  2. Put the rice crispies into a large mixing bowl. Pour the melted mixture over the cereal, using a rubber spatula to scrape out all the deliciousness from the glass bowl. 
  3. Stir well, being gentle to not crush the cereal while making sure the melted mixture is evenly distributed throughout.
  4. Scoop everything into a 9 x 13 inch pan. Use the spatula to press into the pan so the top of the bars are flat. Press gently to create firm bars.
  5. Let sit for a while before serving (at least 30 minutes probably - just to let the bars get firmer). I prefer the bars chilled. Eat within 3 days for maximum freshness.
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