Gooey Payday Scotcheroo Bars

When you hear “Gooey Payday Scotcheroo Bars” what foods or flavors come to mind? No cheating. Don’t read the recipe below. And dismiss the thoughts of the candy bar. Think of things as they are in the baking world, if you’re familiar.

Let’s break it down.

When I hear “gooey” I think of bars made with condensed milk. That’s how you get the gooeyness in the middle.

How about “payday?” If you google recipes for copycat payday bars you’ll find ingredient such as peanuts, peanut butter and mini marshmallows.

Then there’s “scotcheroo.” There’s only one scotcheroo that should come to mind and that’s Rice Krispies Scotcheroos. I would think, anyway. I never understood where the term “scotcheroo” came from but I always associate it with peanut butter, chocolate and butterscotch. So whenever I add a layer of chocolate and butterscotch to a dessert, I describe it as “scotcheroo.” I basically use the word as an adjective.

So let’s get on with it already. Where did my inspiration for this bar come from, you might wonder. Well I originally wanted to make a peanut butter version of seven layer bars. So I bought some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Reese’s Pieces and dry-roasted peanuts with every intention of making a seven-layer bar.

Then I ate all the Reese’s Pieces. Being down one of the seven ingredients I thought of my options. I could add chocolate chips instead. Or chocolate chips and butterscotch chips like the traditional seven-layer bar. But when I thought of chocolate chips and butterscotch chips together I immediately thought of Rice Krispy Scotcheroos and that thick layer of butterscotch-chocolate on top. So I got into my mind that this bar had to have that same topping. Which would make it much unlike a seven-layer bar.

I could live with that, I decided. It’s not like I can’t make a seven-layer bar some other time. As I was baking the base for this bar, the best peanut butter cookie dough I’ve ever eaten, I wondered how marshmallows would taste inside the bar. I figured they would taste pretty darn good and was reminded of a “payday” bar my friend made a few months ago that involved marshmallow, peanuts and peanut butter, probably amongst other things.

So there you have it. I could no longer call the bar “seven-layer” and decided to use the term “gooey” because the bars were going to be gooey in the middle what with the condensed milk and marshmallows.

And in case you’re wondering how this interesting concoction turned out I would say it was fantabulous. Impressive. A must try. Unless you’re some sort of weirdo who doesn’t like peanut butter. But if that were the case, I’m guessing you wouldn’t be reading this post.


  • 1 recipe for peanut butter cookies
  • 3 c. Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, crushed
  • 2 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package chocolate chips
  • 1 package butterscotch chips
  • flaked sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper inside a 13×9 inch baking pan and coat with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Spread the cookie dough evenly along the bottom of the pan and bake for about 15 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the par-baked bars with the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, marshmallows, and peanuts.
  4. Pour the condensed milk evenly on top of the bars. Return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until bubbly. Let cool completely.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, melt butterscotch chips and chocolate chips over low heat and stir until completely smooth. Pour over cooled bars and spread evenly across the top. If desired, sprinkle with flakey sea salt. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

You will be tempted to take the shortcut of pouring the chocolate mixture on top of the bars prior to completely cooling them. Don’t! I didn’t wait and what ended up happening is the density of the chocolate pushed the marshmallow topping aside and I was not able to spread the chocolate all the way to the edges of the bars.

So what happened when the bars eventually cooled and I cut into them is that the middle of the bars were top-heavy with butterscotch-chocolate and did not have much of the marshmallow-peanut Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup filling. You will want your bars to have even layers of the decadent ingredients. Trust me on this one.

Recipe rating: 

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