My dad was not exactly a master cook, but he did do a few things really really well. Like frying frozen burritos in butter. Or frying Swedish meatballs in butter. Or frying lefse in butter. You get the idea. He wasn’t much of a baker, so I was surprised when he started making homemade batches of Nut Goodie Bars. It was his favorite holiday treat, and he quickly mastered the recipe.
It wasn’t until I moved away from Minnesota that I realized Pearson’s Candy and their nut bar empire were a local company. Back in the eighties you couldn’t always find Salted Nut Rolls or Nut Goodies if you strayed from the Midwest. When my sister moved to Georgia it became an annual tradition to send her Nut Goodie-junkie husband a collection of the bars each Christmas to sustain his addiction through the New Year.
Now I wonder how regional Nut Goodies and their homemade counterparts are. I have a feeling their popularity has spread across the United States and into international territories. I am not a fan of maple unless it is poured over breakfast, so when I make these bars I opt out of the maple extract. But maple flavoring is a requirement for a true Nut Goodie.
Obligatory food confession: I did not prepare the pictured bars. They were a gift from my sister.
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 ounces butterscotch chips
2 cups peanut butter
1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup butter
3 ounce package vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 pounds powdered sugar
In large saucepan melt chocolate and butterscotch chips and peanut butter over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Spread half in jelly roll pan and let set until firm. Stir the peanuts into the unused portion of melted chips and set aside.
In clean saucepan stir together butter, pudding mix, and milk; bring to boil and simmer one minute. Add extract and beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over set layer. Top with peanut mixture.
Cut into bars when set firm.
Adapted from Shirley Johnson’s recipe in “A Century with Grace Heritage and Hope” from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gaylord, Minnesota, 1983.