Since last November when I posted the recipe for “Crunchers” (one of the most popular recipes on Pinterest), it has likewise gone on to be the most popular recipe on my site.
I really adored the Crunchers, so imagine my distress when two readers within a week of each other let me know that the recipe had disastrous results for them. You can read the comments over here, at the bottom of the post.
I try to share recipes that I have tried and loved and that work. That said, I wanted to see what might have caused such awful results. In both cases the butter separated out from the graham-sugar mixture that gets spread between the cracker layers.
I remade the recipe yesterday. I noticed that I had not paid attention to how high the heat was during the 5 minutes that the graham mixture boils. This time I did note that my heat was on medium high and the graham mixture was ready just before the 4 minute mark. I kept it boiling, though, to see what happened at 5 minutes.
Sure enough, there was some separation of butter. I poured it off into a bowl and used the remaining mixture with excellent results. The mixture was thick and easy to spread.
Bonus here: I saved the butter and used it to make pancakes in place of the melted butter called for. Gave them a hint of graham-brown sugar flavor.
One thing I did differently this time around was to use 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and omit the 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips. I got a perfectly smooth chocolate-peanut butter glaze and I liked the flavor far better.
Here’s the updated recipe.
80 Keebler Club Crackers (or use Nabisco Waverly Crackers, Christie Toppable Crackers or a similarly buttery cracker that has a rectangular shape.)
1 cup butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Line an ungreased 9 X 13-inch baking pan with foil, allowing foil to extend about an inch on either end. Line the foil with 1 layer of club crackers, cutting to fit if necessary.
2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (Begin timing 5 minutes from when you see the first bubbles.)
Note: Since “medium heat” might be different on various models of stoves, I recommend watching the mixture and at the 3 to 4 minute mark remove from the heat if the consistency is that of a thickening pudding. (Does that make sense?)
This is ready to remove from the stove:
This is ready, too. Ignore that blurry spoon. It was hard concentrating on the mixture and wielding the camera!
If the butter does separate, use a slotted spoon to drop the graham mixture over the crackers. Pour off the butter into a bowl lined with foil and set aside to let it solidify. Re-melt the butter and use for any dessert recipe that calls for melted butter or to grease a skillet.
Here is a photo of the solidified butter alongside a knife to give you an idea of the quantity. It is about 2 tablespoons.
3. Remove from heat and spread half of graham mixture evenly over crackers. Place another single layer of crackers evenly over graham mixture, cutting to fit if necessary. Spread remaining graham mixture evenly over crackers. Top evenly with remaining crackers.
Note: These are photos of the mixture where the butter separated. It was completely usable and spreadable.
4. In a small saucepan, combine peanut butter and chocolate chips. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over top of crackers. Cover, and chill for at least 1 hour.
5. Lift foil overhang and remove Crunchers from pan. Cut into bars.
Makes a lot.
In keeping with revisits, how about a lovely version of this Neil Young classic by Sam Amidon?
Mr. Amidon is from Brattleboro, Vermont. Makes me like him even better. :)
Check out Sam Amidon on his Website, where you can link to buy his music. He has a new album “Bright Sunny South” coming out May 14th on Nonesuch Records.
I’ve made the original recipe numerous times (though I add a couple teaspoons of vanilla to the caramel). The only times I’ve had problems were when A: I left the white sugar out of the recipe – butter never fully incorporated, tried to add the white sugar in when I realized my mistake, ended up with a nice soft caramel after I poured off the excess butter, spooned dollops onto a silicone baking sheet and refrigerated. B: I overcooked the caramel. The butter separated a little, and the caramel was super thick and hard to spread. Still tasted great, though; just wasn’t as pretty.
I also like to make half again as much caramel and use it as the topping in place of the peanut butter-chocolate mix.
How do I print this recipe out on my printer there is no print recipe button? I am not good at paste and copy. Any suggestions?
Aw Donna, I’m afraid I have such a bare bones website that I cannot really help.
I would suggest copying and pasting the recipe you like then saving it to a “recipe file” with a note that the photo is here.
I hope that helps a bit! Thanks SO much for stopping by. x
thank you for your reply of course I will have to ask my daughter how to copy and paste because you know copy and paste to me is something totally different then it is today.So again thank-you
to print: click on your right button – choose ‘Print…’ – then either print all 9 pages or pick and choose.
OMG! How did I not ever know this! I thought I was somewhat savvy on a computer. The right click to print button just made my life 100 times easier. Thank You!
He recipe and great song!!
Yum!! Will have to try these for Wisconsin!
I’m sure you will love them! Thanks so much for stopping by.
I made these with saltines, as it was all we had. Topped them with some chopped peanuts. Definitely are flying off the plate.
That sounds like a delicious change up!
My daughter is allergic to peanuts. Would these work without the peanut butter chips? Any suggestions for substitutions?
You could definitely substitute more chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips. From this article it appears that you can successfully substitute almond butter for the peanut butter (of course if your daughter is not allergic to those as well).
If you try the almond butter you’ll have to let me know how it turned out!
Thank you so much for stopping by.
I’ve had the problem before with butter separating and I used a whisk and beat the heck out of it and it all came together again.
That is good to know! I’ll definitely try that if it separates on me again. Thanks so much for for stopping by.
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I have made these several times and have absolutely no problem just following the recipe.They are wonderful.
So glad the recipe works for you! Those Crunchers are so delicious. I need to make them again soon.
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you state 2 layers of crackers but if you look at the picture you really have 3 layers from what i can see.
3 layers is what she stated..”. Remove from heat and spread half of graham mixture evenly over crackers. Place another single layer of crackers evenly over graham mixture, cutting to fit if necessary. Spread remaining graham mixture evenly over crackers. Top evenly with remaining crackers.”
When you subbed chocolate chips for butterscotch , why did you double the chocolate chips? Did this not change the consistency?
The amount of chips remains the same. Instead of 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, when I remade the recipe I used 1 cup of chocolate chips and omitted the butterscotch chips. Since it is still 1 cup of chips the consistency was the same, but better in my opinion as the chocolate chips melted smooth (whereas the butterscotch chips had not entirely melted).
I hope that clears things up instead of making it more confusing! All that said, I prefer the revisited version of the crunchers.