These tidy rolls are fashioned after the old-timey Midwestern candy of the same name and feature a crunchy peanut crust, a smooth and creamy marshmallow filling, and a caramel “glue” that holds them together. Considering the nature of these ingredients, the situation would inevitably be sticky, but we wanted to keep things from getting too messy. We first heated butter, marshmallows, vanilla, and salt on the stove; when this mixture was combined and smooth, we added confectioners’ sugar and then hand-kneaded this “dough” once it was cool enough to handle. The shiny mixture was then ready to be formed into ropes. Trying to coat the melted marshmallow ropes in caramel before the marshmallow hardened left us with a mess. Refrigerating the ropes solved that problem. For the coating, we kept things easy by simply melting store-bought soft caramels on the stove with sweetened condensed milk, whisking the mixture until it was smooth. The chilled marshmallow ropes were easy to dip in caramel and roll in nuts before we sliced them into sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy pieces.
- Yield: 32 pieces
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups marshmallows
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts
- 1 pound soft caramels
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 8 tablespoons butter, marshmallows, vanilla, and salt in large saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently until smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and remove from heat.
- When cool enough to handle, transfer mixture to clean counter and knead until shiny. Using bench scraper or sharp chef’s knife, divide mixture into 8 pieces and roll each into 4-inch-long rope. Transfer ropes to prepared sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pulse peanuts in food processor until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Transfer peanuts to shallow dish. Heat caramels, condensed milk, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently until smooth, about 5 minutes. Dip chilled ropes, one at a time, into caramel mixture, then roll in peanuts, pressing to adhere. Return coated ropes to sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Cut ropes into 1-inch pieces before serving.