Robin Anish | The Table Is Set: Sweet memories, chews worthy of spring

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These first days of spring, along with the dirty remnants of winter on the sidewalks, trigger a memory for me of how exciting it was to get a new pair of sneakers every spring when I was a kid.

Yes, back in the day, more like way back in the day, it was pretty easy being a kid. It didn't take much to make a kid happy, so getting a new pair of sneakers every spring was pretty exciting.

You see, sneakers today are just not as cool as they were when I was a kid. We had sneakers that could actually make you "run faster and jump higher!" At least that was what the commercials said — and I believed it.

So, as soon as the new sneakers showed up in the windows of Bob's Army and Navy store across the street from where we lived, my father would take me over and buy me a new pair.

My new sneakers were awesome! They were white and clean, and there was this neat, bright blue rubber logo at the heel; but, best of all, I was certain that they really did make me run faster and jump higher! I even skipped faster and higher than ever. What the commercial said was true!

But after all that running and jumping, and skipping along the dirty old sidewalks, my sneakers were no longer white and new. They were just a pair of dirty sneakers I'd have to kick off at the door so I wouldn't get yelled at for tracking dirt into the house.

Well, it was fun while it lasted; now it's a sweet memory that makes me smile every spring.

Food has a way of triggering fond memories. This recipe for salted peanut chews is from an older Pillsbury cookbook and is described as being "reminiscent of a popular candy bar." Baby Ruth, perhaps?

Salted peanut chews

INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

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1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg yolks

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Topping:

2/3 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 (12-ounce) package peanut butter chips

2 cups crisp rice cereal

2 cups salted peanuts

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together all crust ingredients except marshmallows until blended and crumbly. Press firmly in the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with marshmallows. Return to oven and bake an additional 1 to 2 minutes until marshmallows just begin to puff. Cool while preparing topping.

In a large saucepan, combine all topping ingredients except cereal and peanuts. Heat until chips are melted, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cereal and peanuts. Immediately spoon warm topping over marshmallows and spread to cover. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars to serve.


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