Squirrels, with their playful antics and fluffy tails, hold a special place in our hearts. What better way to honor these delightful creatures than with Chewy Nutty Squirrel Bars? These treats are brimming with crunchy nuts and rich condensed milk, making them the perfect snack or quick breakfast option. Not only are they scrumptious, but they’re also simple to whip up and can be kept in the fridge for a week, ensuring you have a tasty treat on hand whenever you desire.
The inspiration for these bars came during a visit to my grandparents in the countryside, where a family of squirrels had made their home in the backyard. Captivated by their presence, I sought to create something special for them. My grandmother suggested these bars, and it was a joy to see the squirrels enjoy the fruits of our labor.
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1¼ cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup chopped nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, or a mix)
1 cup caramel or butterscotch baking chips
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (reserve 2 tablespoons)
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Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper for easy removal.
In a mixing bowl, beat 1¾ sticks of butter and the powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
Gradually mix in the cocoa powder and flour until well combined.
Press the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust bakes, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter with the sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, then stir in the vanilla extract.
Pour this mixture over the baked crust and return to the oven for an additional 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast the nuts lightly, then chop them coarsely. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the caramel chips with the heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Fold the toasted nuts and salt into the caramel mixture.
Spread the nutty caramel layer over the bars and allow them to cool completely before slicing.
These Chewy Nutty Squirrel Bars are not just a treat for humans but symbolize a sweet connection to the wildlife that inspires joy and wonder in our lives. Enjoy crafting these delicious bars and perhaps share a moment of appreciation for the squirrels and the natural world around us.