Crunchy Peanut Butter & Fudge Delights

Crunchy Peanut Butter & Fudge Delights
Bottom layer:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
Middle layer:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups chow mein noodles
1 (12-ounce) can cocktail peanuts

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
Spray a 9-x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper comes up and just slightly above the sides of pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the bottom layer by mixing flour, brown sugar and 3/4 cup butter. A food processor works well for this. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
While bottom layer is baking, measure chow mein noodles and peanuts into a bowl. Set aside. Put 1/4 cup butter, corn syrup, peanut butter and marshmallows into a large microwave-safe mixing bowl. Heat in microwave oven for about 3 minutes on High power, stirring after each minute, until mixture is melted and smooth. This step can also be done in the top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring until mixture is completely smooth. Add chow mein noodles and peanuts to peanut butter mixture, stirring to mix. Spread mixture over still-warm bottom layer. Allow to cool, then cover and chill.
To make topping, combine 1/2 cup butter, sweetened condensed milk and semisweet chocolate morsels. Microwave on High power for 1 minute. Remove from microwave oven and stir mixture until smooth. You can also heat the ingredients in the top of a double boiler or in a heavy saucepan, stirring until melted and smooth. Spread fudge topping over peanut butter layer. Cover and chill. Cut into squares and serve. Store in refrigerator.
Tips from the cook
--I like to put the chow mein noodles and peanuts in an oven-safe bowl. When the crust comes out of the oven, I turn the oven off and slip the bowl in for a few minutes. The noodles and peanuts warm up a little bit, making it easier to mix them with the peanut butter mixture.
--Lining the pan with parchment paper makes it possible to easily pull the prepared Crunchy Peanut Butter & Fudge Delights from the pan and cut them into serving-sized pieces.

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