All-Star Sweets

Last summer, things got a whole lot sweeter for the Senior Bowl when Reese’s became the official title sponsor of the Mobile gridiron tradition. The pairing is destined to be a winning combination, just like chocolate and peanut butter.

“Reese’s brand and the Senior Bowl form a perfect partnership showcasing the best in senior collegiate football and the best in chocolate and peanut butter, ” says Anna Lingeris, public relations manager at Hershey’s.

“Being connected with a highly recognizable brand such as Reese’s is great for us in many ways, ” says Chris Morgan, the director of game operations and corporate sponsorships for the Senior Bowl. “Eventually, Reese’s will promote the Reese’s Senior Bowl in thousands of retail outlets throughout the country, which is incredible exposure. Also, since they are heavily involved in college athletics, they have a great understanding of how to engage fans.” (Reese’s has been the official candy sponsor of the NCAA since 2009 and also sponsors the Reese’s College All-Star Games, which features top Division I senior basketball student-athletes.)

The History

The first Senior Bowl was held in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Gator Bowl in 1950. The following year, a group of local businessmen, led by Finley McRae, brought the Senior Bowl to the Azalea City, and Mobile has hosted it ever since.

- Sponsors -

In 1923, a former Hershey employee, H.B. Reese, decided to start his own candy company out of his home. Five years later, in 1928, he invented a delicious confection of peanut butter covered in milk chocolate. The Hershey Company purchased the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1963.

Fun Facts
◗ Each January, more than 1, 000 NFL representatives (head coaches, general managers, etc.) make the trip to Mobile for the Senior Bowl.
◗ The Senior Bowl has an annual economic impact of close to $20 million for the city.
◗ The South has beaten the North 31 times in the Senior Bowl. The North has won 27 of the bowls and three games have been tied.
◗ Reese’s makes enough peanut butter cups in a single year to feed one to every person in the United States, Japan, Europe, Australia, China, Africa and India.  

It’s clearly a win-win. In celebration of the team up, here are several chocolate and peanut butter recipes to sweeten game day.

PB Fun Brownies

These delicious pick-me-ups, above, are ideal for tailgates.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
6 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa or Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) package Reese’s Minis Peanut Butter Cups

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8- or 9-inch baking pan.
2. Place butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted.
3. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a spoon after each addition.
4. Add cocoa, beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat well.
5. Stir peanut butter cups into batter.
6. Spread batter into prepared pan.
7. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of pan.
8. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes approximately 16.

Touchdown Cookies

Bake up a batch of these festive, football-shaped cookies. They’re sure to cause excessive celebration.

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 (8-ounce) package Reese’s Minis Peanut Butter Cups, about 36 candies
white ready-to-spread frosting, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla.
3. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Then, gradually add to butter mixture. (Dough will be stiff; if necessary, mix with hands.)
4. For each cookie, roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball; flatten slightly and press around 1 Reese’s Mini, covering cup completely. Mold into football shape.
5. Using a toothpick or edge of a knife, press lines into dough to resemble lacing on football.
6. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
7. Remove from cookie sheet onto wire rack to cool completely. If desired, use white frosting to add laces to football. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg(s)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa or Hershey's Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
powdered sugar (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.
2. Stir together applesauce and oats in small bowl; set aside. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add applesauce mixture; blend well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon, if desired. Add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.
3. Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool slightly in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle muffin tops with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve warm. Makes 12 to 15 muffins.

Peanut Butter Cup Cracker Toffee

This buttery cracker toffee is terrific for snacking on at home during the game or packing into a picnic for tailgating.

40 square saltine crackers
1 (8-ounce) package Reese’s Minis Peanut Butter Cups
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
1 cup Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup salted peanut halves

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with heavy-duty foil. Generously spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Arrange crackers in bottom of pan with edges touching; set aside.
3. Cut each peanut butter cup in half and set aside.
4. Heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring frequently until butter melts. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring until surface is covered with bubbles, 1 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
5. Pour butter mixture over crackers. Spread to cover evenly.
6. Bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven. Let cool 3 minutes.
7. Sprinkle peanut butter chips over crackers then sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over surface. Wait a couple of minutes for chips to soften, then spread melted chips over crackers.
8. Sprinkle with peanut butter cup halves and peanuts, pressing them in lightly. Allow to sit until chocolate is set and firm.
9. Break or cut into pieces. Store covered in an airtight container. Makes 40 crackers.


2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips or Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Reese's Peanut Butter Chips
1 cup Reese's Creamy Peanut Butter
3 cups chow mein noodles
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup raisins

1. Line several trays or cookie sheets with wax paper.
2. Place chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium for 1 minute; stir. Continue heating 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are completely melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Stir in noodles, peanuts and raisins.
3. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared trays. Refrigerate until set (about 40 minutes). For best results, store in refrigerator. Makes about 4-1/2 dozen candies

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Cheesecake 

This lush, lavish cheesecake is a decadent fantasy dessert.

Peanut Butter Crumb Crust, recipe below
11 – 12 standard-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, each cut into 16 pieces
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark
Chocolate Chips or Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
1/2 cup Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare Peanut Butter Crumb Crust.
3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, beating well. Add sour cream and vanilla. Blend thoroughly.
4. Place two cups of the batter in a separate bowl. Blend in melted chocolate.
5. Pour chocolate batter over crust.
6. Add peanut butter to remaining batter and gently stir in peanut butter cup pieces. Spread over chocolate batter.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for additional 50 – 55 minutes or until center is almost set.
8. Remove from oven to wire rack to cool. With knife, loosen cake from the sides of the pan. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Serves 10 – 12.

Peanut Butter Crumb Crust

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (about 45 wafers, crushed)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1. In a medium bowl, stir together vanilla wafer crumbs and confectioners’ sugar.
2. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave peanut butter and butter on medium for 30 seconds, or until butter is melted and mixture is well blended when stirred. Add to crumb mixture, blending thoroughly.
3. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Temptations

These tasty tidbits are, as the name implies, mighty enticing.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
40 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures or 12 standard-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,  quartered

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line small muffin cups with paper baking cups.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place 1 ball into each prepared muffin cup. Do not flatten.
5. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned.
6. Remove from oven. Immediately press a peanut butter cup or piece into each cup. Cool completely in muffin pan. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen. 

Drizzled Party Popcorn

8 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips
2 teaspoons shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil), divided
1/2 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips

1. Line cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan with wax paper. Spread popcorn in thin layer on prepared pan.
2. Place milk chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth when stirred. Drizzle over popcorn.
3. Place peanut butter chips and remaining 1 teaspoon shortening in separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth when stirred. Drizzle over popcorn.
4. Allow drizzles to set up at room temperature or refrigerate about 10 minutes or until firm. Break popcorn into pieces. About 8 cups popcorn. Popcorn is best eaten the same day as prepared, but can be stored in airtight container.

text and styling by Sallye Irvine • photos by Todd Douglas

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