Monday, April 1, 2013

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

Just rich and delicious dessert bars with no healthy bits thrown in for good measure. That’s all these are. I didn’t doctor them up with seasonal ingredients or whole grains or a better choice of fats. Nope. These are just pure peanut butter and chocolate indulgence.

This recipe is based on the more common “revel bars.” They keep the best part intact: the creamy ganache-like chocolate layer, and accompany it with plenty of peanut butter in the cookie layers on the top and bottom. While it looks like there’s a lot of sugar in this recipe, somehow the cookie layers didn’t seem that sweet to me. I don’t know. Was it my imagination?

Anyway, these bars tasted fabulous, richly peanut buttery and chocolaty. Despite their familiar style, however, they tasted a bit unusual to me. Could it be that I’ve become so accustomed to fancy whole grain flours and at least slightly exotic flavors that a plain, traditional treat of a cookie bar is new and different all over again?


Aw, who cares? These are a nice treat. A “sometimes food.” Another example of the pureness of the concept of “two great tastes that taste great together” ™. I admit that I bought the publication in which this recipe appeared almost entirely for this recipe. I also admit that it was worth it. I really didn’t change the recipe, although I did sprinkle some chocolate chips on top of the whole thing. (I figured it would be a good way to use up the rest of the package.) You could skip this step and use the leftover chips for something else.

These bars might not have a sophisticated “adult” flavor profile, but they’re good enough to make me happy that I’m an adult and can eat what I want. At least sometimes.


Peanut Butter and Chocolate Revel Bars
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications: Brownies and Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups (packed) brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups creamy peanut butter, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 13” x 9” baking dish with cooking spray, or grease it well with butter. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer) beat the butter at medium speed until fluffy. Add the brown sugar, baking soda and salt and beat until well-combined. Scrape the bowl as needed.

3. Beat in the eggs, 2 cups peanut butter, and vanilla until well-combined. Beat in the flour, stirring in the last of the flour if necessary, and scraping the bowl occasionally as needed.

4. Measure out 2 cups of this mixture and set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the prepared baking pan. Set aside.

5. To make the chocolate filling, place 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a medium-size saucepan. Heat over low heat until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring regularly until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla.

6. Pour the chocolate mixture over the dough base in the pan and spread evenly. Drop the reserved dough mixture over the chocolate layer in spoonfuls. Drop evenly but leave some of the chocolate mixture exposed on top. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top. (This step is optional, but I wanted to use up the rest of the chocolate chips.)

7. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Makes at least 2 dozen bars. (I cut mine quite small, since they are fairly rich.) Bars can also be frozen for a few months.

Another recipe like this one: Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Cups

One year ago: Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

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