Add peanuts to your holiday cooking

Sertoma Club fundraiser helps deaf, hard-of-hearing

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Every year about this time, Bruce Tingle with the Sertoma Club of Wilson brings some peanuts to my office.

The peanuts, prepared by Williamson Peanuts of Sims, are always popular in the newsroom. We like snacks.

Bruce and the other members of the Sertoma Club sell the peanuts each year to support the hearing-impaired in our area in several ways, including the funding of a deaf/ hard-of-hearing scholarship at Barton College and sending students to Camp Sertoma.

The peanuts I have sampled are always delicious, and I enjoy munching on them while I work. But the peanuts are also good to incorporate into your holiday cooking.

After a quick online search, I found a recipe to try for salted peanut chews on the Pillsbury website. The recipe was featured in the 1980 Pillsbury Bake-Off. This sweet treat is easy to prepare and would make an tasty addition to your holiday dessert table.

The recipe starts with a crust made with refrigerated cookie dough and includes a marshmallow layer finished with a sweet peanut topping. And it’s very adaptable.

The Pillsbury version uses a sugar cookie crust that is topped with a mixture of peanut butter baking chips, Rice Krispies, corn syrup and peanuts that cooks on the stove.

I decided to switch things around a little bit when I made this recipe Sunday evening. I used peanut butter cookie dough for my crust and chocolate chips instead of peanut butter chips. I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate and couldn’t resist.

I made the recipe Sunday night and took it back to work where two of my co-workers sampled it. They both agreed with me that the recipe is delicious.

The next morning, I was a little hesitant to check under the aluminum foil. I feared the chocolate might have turned while or that the cookie bars had gotten too hard or even too soft. But they were still in perfect shape and tasted delicious.

Part of the appeal of this dessert is the different textures and tastes, from the salty peanuts to the crispy cereal pieces and gooey marshmallows.

Do yourself a favor and help out the Sertoma Club and the area hearing impaired. Buy some peanuts — raw, salted, honey roasted, chocolate covered or chocolate brittle — and make something yummy. Call or text Bruce at 252-230-2883 if you’d like to purchase some.

Salted Peanut Chews

Switch around ingredients on this sweet dessert to match your family’s tastes.

1 roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough (or peanut butter)

3 cups miniature marshmallows

2/3 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 bag (10 ounces) peanut butter chips (or chocolate chips or a mixture of both)

2 cups crisp rice cereal

2 cups salted peanuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan, break up cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crust. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool while making topping.

In 4-quart saucepan, heat corn syrup, butter, vanilla and peanut butter chips over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and peanuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows; spread to cover. Refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows.