Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The most expensive treats I've ever made...

Today I made some treats for my daughter's class, per her request. She chose this recipe because it's quick, and my family loves these. However, one of the main ingredients is a rarity here in Italy.

And expensive.

No, I didn't make Caviar truffles. I made...Special K Crispy Bars. And that rare, expensive ingredient?

Peanut butter.

That's right--most Italians have never even tasted peanut butter. And for those who have....are you sitting down?.....most of them don't like the taste.

I can they function as a society without peanut butter? It's a mystery.

If you can find peanut butter in Italy, it's often in the foreign foods section of the supermarket--right next to the soy sauce and taco shells. In one store, it was actually in the refrigerated foods section--Italians obviously don't know that peanut butter has (at least) a 57-year-shelf life.

When you do find peanut butter, it only comes in tiny jars, like this:

And since demand (and supply) is so low, p.b. prices are high. This miniscule jar my daughter is holding set me back 4 Euros and 4 cents. That equates to--count 'em--
For anyone who's interested, here's the crispy bar recipe. (Note: Not recommended for denture-wearers. Highly recommended for anyone who has at least 2 or 3 pairs of pants with spandex/Lycra--anything that stretches. You'll need these pants immediately after polishing off half the pan.)
2 cups sugar
2TBS. butter
2 cups Karo light corn syrup (If you live in Italy, get someone from the U.S. to send you a bottle. Not my mom, though--she's my American baking ingredients supplier, so she's got her hands full)
6 cups Special K cereal, crushed
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 package chocolate chips
Melt butter in a large pot and then add sugar and Karo syrup. Stir constantly. Bring to a full boil and let boil for one minute. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and stir until creamy. Add Special K and stir until well-mixed. Press mixture onto cookie sheet. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave and spread over mixture. Let cool until top has hardened. Cut into squares. Eat. And if your Italian friends don't like them, this just means there's more for you.
Buon appetito!


cynjay said...

My DH was born in Africa and raised in England - and hates anything that even whispers peanut butter. I love ANYTHING made with PB.

Luckily he travels a lot, so we make my famous peanut butter cookies when he's gone.

cynjay said...
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Sharon said...

Hi Natalie!
I grew up in America, but never heard of that recipe. The closest recipe I know is Rice Krispy treats made with marshmallows.

Maybe I'm tired, but did you tell us all how much peanut butter to use in the recipe?

Thanks for your blog, Nat. I look forward to every post.

Katrina Stonoff said...

I'm wondering how those Special K treats would taste made with Nutella!

Natalie said...

When we meet in person someday, Cyn, the two of us will go out for some peanut butter Reeses cheesecake--my treat. :-)

Thanks, Sharon! And no, you're not the tired one--I am! I can't believe I forgot the ingredient that was the subject of this post (*hits self on forehead*)...I've added in the p.b. to the recipe in the post. Thanks for catching that!

Ooooh, Katrina...Nutella! The only thing better than peanut butter or Nutella is both together on the same spoon. :-) I will definitely have to try this recipe with Nutella...:-)

Danette Haworth said...

OMG--peanut butter as a foreign food!

When I was in the college youth group, we went on a mission trip to Trinidad. The people there were wonderful and their accents just beautiful. But of course, we were in their land--they kept commenting on our accents!

Rose Green said...

And now I will rush out to try this with Nutella, Food of the Gods!

Rice crispie treats are a hard one for us to pull off--all the rice cereal I can find is too heavily sugared, and it doesn't turn out well with the already-sweet marshmallows. But we did finally find a solution to German brown sugar (which is colored brown, but there ends the similarity--it's chemically different and cookies made with it just fall apart). Add molasses. Totally works. (Of course, that all hangs on whether molasses is available...)

Africakid said...

When I lived in France for 6 months, it was hard to find peanut butter there, too.

List of Things Lost said...

You are so awesome making a special treat for the kids.
You didn't say --- did they like it?

Do you want me to bring some inexpense PB to you when we meet in Bologna????

edna said...

Hi Natalie,

Have you thought of grinding peanuts (raw or roasted) to get homemade peanut butter? It tastes really good! I worked in a health food store in Honolulu that had an industrial machine for people to grind up peanut butter. But I think it can be done with a Cusineart or something like that. It was a popular item in the store that's for sure. Oh those wild and crazy health nut true blue Americans ;-)....


Anonymous said...

I LOVE peanut butter! When I was pregnant I ate peanut butter everything. I made peanut butter pie with hot fudge, ate peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter on celery . . . what would I have done if I'd lived in Italy?


Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tara said...

Hello Natalie,
Without sharing too much personal information, I was referred to your blog by Chuck and Carol. I really enjoy your stories.
I blog also. You can check out my blogs at
my more personal thoughts are at
I hope to hear from you, and I look forward to enjoying your blog.

Tara said...

May I use your recipe for my People Sharing Recipes blog?