This is one of my favorite holidays. I’m not kidding. You see, I’m originally from Pennsylvania, and unless you are also from Pennsylvania, you cannot truly appreciate the day. It’s not that it’s all that noteworthy (though I do think we should have the day off from work!), but it’s quirky. And I like quirky.
In fact, one year back in college (which I’ve begrudgingly come to realize was quite a while ago) my friends and I drove to Punxsutawney, PA for an all-nighter of groundhog festivities, culminating in the great prognostication by the oversized rat. At the time, the event was made even more exciting because the man who pulled Phil out of the hole (aka the “Handler”) was my friend’s father. I don’t remember if Phil saw his shadow or not that year. This year he did not see his shadow, so spring should be just around the corner. Oh please, oh please!
In celebration of Groundhog Day I have decided that it would be most appropriate to bake a treat that celebrates my Pennsylvania roots.
When I was in elementary school, my best friend’s mother would bake homemade Tastycake Kandy Kake bars. These things were top notch; they tasted like the real thing. The summer after fourth grade, however, my family moved from this part of the state and I never again had the Kandy Kake bars. In other words, for the past 25 years I have thought of these delicious treats! Thanks to the magic of Facebook, last year I reconnected with my childhood friend and not too long ago I got my hands on the beloved recipe.
Yup, they were as good as I remembered, even with the very minor tweaks I made. These things are easy and a sure crowd-pleaser.
Crowd-pleaser, you say? Oh yes. As in “I will have a crowd over to my house to watch the Superbowl this weekend and I need to feed them.” And, as in, “I will be rooting for the STEELERS and they, like Punxsutawney Phil, Sweet Jumbles, and Tastycakes are also from Pennsylvania. Therefore this would be the perfect addition to my gameday menu.”
Eat up. Respect the Groundhog. Go Steelers!
Kandy Cake Bars
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 c milk
4 large eggs
2 t butter, melted
2 c sugar
2 t vanilla
1 c creamy peanut butter
8 oz milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Mix together milk, eggs, and melted butter until well blended. Add sugar and vanilla, again blending well.
Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Immediately upon removal from oven, spread peanut butter over the cake. The heat of the cake will make it easy to spread.
Refrigerate until firm.
In a double boiler, melt milk chocolate (I used Green & Black’s) and paraffin wax (I used 3/8 oz, but precision is not important here). Pour over firm peanut butter and spread smooth.
Refrigerate to harden.