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Posts Tagged ‘bars’

The peanut butter/chocolate combo and I go way back. I totally blame my dad for introducing me to Reese’s Cups at a young age. He later shared with me the magical creation that is a Dairy Queen Reese’s Blizzard (extra Reese’s, of course) and it all went downhill from there. If you were to look at my starred items in Google Reader you would see a downright embarrassing number of peanut butter and chocolate desserts. I just can’t help myself.

And let’s get real here. Yes, I am posting this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars just three days after writing about abdominal exercises on my healthy living blog. So after you eat these bars, head on over to Peanut Butter Runner (so appropriately named) and try some new ab challenges. ;)

Just a reminder that I preach balance, balance, balance. Amen.

I was looking for a treat to bring to a beach weekend with friends. These bars seemed like something that would be easy for people to pick up when they were in the mood for something sweet. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them. I mean, how could you not!?

Despite having three layers, they were surprisingly easy to assemble. I loved that there was no baking involved and I did all of my chocolate melting in the microwave rather than on the stove top. The only downside was that they turned out not to be ideal for traveling in a hot car. They really needed to stay refrigerated and got a little melty on the trip down. Thankfully, they firmed back up in the fridge and no taste was compromised!

The crispy part of these bars is a little different. Instead of making your traditional Rice Krispies treat with marshmallows, you use corn syrup, water and sugar to make a sticky mixture to bind the Rice Krispies cereal together. I think that next time I will try the traditional method with marshmallows just for comparison. If I do, I will report back! (Don’t get me wrong, they are great as is!) And one last note, I doubled this recipe and made it in an 11 x 9 instead of an 8 x 8 pan.

I think these would be perfect to take to Fall football get-togethers. I promise they will disappear quickly and you will be the hit of the party for serving them!

One Year Ago: Sauteed Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
(Recipe source Cate’s World Kitchen, originally from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRISPY CRUST
1 3/4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons butter, melted

FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER LAYER
5 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING
3 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Spray an 8″ square pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Place cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high. Insert a candy thermometer into the mixture and boil until it reaches 235 degrees F. Remove from heat, stir in melted butter, pour over the cereal and mix together. Press into prepared pan and let cool while you make the peanut butter layer.

FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER LAYER
Melt the milk chocolate and peanut butter together in the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water. Stir until smooth, then pour over the crust and chill for an hour in fridge or until set. Alternatively, melt chocolate and peanut butter together in the microwave on 50 percent power. Cook in 30 second intervals, stirring between until melted and continue with directions above.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
Clean out the double boiler and place dark chocolate, corn syrup and butter in pot. Stir until smooth, over medium low heat. Alternatively, use the same microwave method as above. Cool for about 30 seconds (stirring constantly), then pour over the peanut butter layer, gently spreading. Chill in the fridge for another hour, or until topping has hardened. Cut into squares and serve.

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Confession – I just finished a bowl of vanilla ice cream with a chopped Reese’s cup, chocolate syrup and caramel sauce. I’ve been thinking about blogging these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars all day and my craving for peanut butter and chocolate was out of control. Craving satisfied. I can now blog about these delicious bars without wanting to eat the screen.

Do I even need to state that peanut butter and chocolate is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations after the above commentary? I’m a bitembarrassed by the number of starred items in my Google Reader involving peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe was one of those items.

We went to a family reunion in the Western North Carolina mountains over the July Fourth weekend (read about it here and here). There were about 60 people in attendance and our family was in charge of dinner one night. I contributed these bars, brownies and oatmeal raisin cookies to the dessert spread.

These bars were incredible and definitely lived up to my high expectations. Of course, the first night I made them Brandon had to sample them warm with ice cream on top (a recurring theme if you read this blog!). I thought they were great plain. Don’t shy away from adding the salt to the recipe even if you’re using salted peanut butter. The salty/sweet flavor is part of what makes these so good. I will actually probably add a little extra salt next time.

I doubled the recipe to accommodate a 13 x 9 pan. They took quite a bit longer to cook than the original recipe stated so I would recommend checking them every five minutes after the suggested baking time until you reach your desired doneness.

This is definitely the best blondie-type recipe I’ve tried for peanut butter chocolate chip bars and I will be making them again in the future and plan on playing around with mix-ins next time (chopped Reese’s anyone!?).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
(Recipe source Bake at 350)

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter, salted or unsalted (I used Trader Joe’s chunky salted)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (might want to add a bit more if using unsalted peanut butter)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8 x 8 pan. (Note that I doubled the recipe and used a 13 x 9.)

Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and peanut butter together on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the sugars until mixture is lightened in color and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition and then add vanilla. Reduce mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Remember, you might need additional baking time so just keep checking. Cool completely before cutting.

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angelbars

Behold, Dream Bars (also known as Angel Bars apparently). So according to Joy of Cooking (my favorite cookbook ever) they have sold many copies of their cookbook over the years “on the strength of this recipe.” How could I resist trying these when they tell me that? I was intrigued, especially once I read the ingredient list.

I think the best way I can describe these is pecan pie-esque with coconut and a lemon glaze. I know that sounds strange but somehow it works. First you make a shortbread-type crust and bake it. Next you spread the pecan/coconut mixture over the crust and bake again. And finally you top it with the lemon icing. It’s quite an addictive combination.

I don’t think these will go into the regular baking rotation in my kitchen but I will make them again. If you’re a nut and coconut fan you will definitely like these!

Dream Bars (Angel Bars)
(Recipe source Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

FOR THE ICING
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11 x 17 pan with aluminum foil, leaving about a 2 inch overhang on the narrow sides. Spray with cooking spray.

Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until fluffy and well blended. Stir in flour and knead until blended and smooth.

Firmly press dough into pan into a smooth and even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Place the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the coconut is very lightly browned.

Beat together the eggs, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Stir in the nut and coconut mixture. Spread evenly over the crust and bake for about 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out slightly wet.

Stir together the icing ingredients (adding a tablespoon of water or two if necessary to make spreadable) and spread evenly over bars while they are still warm.

Let the bars stand until they are completely cool. Lift the foil out of the baking dish and carefully peel from sides. Cut bars into squares.

Yield: about 12 bars

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cookiesandcreamricekrispy

Part two of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer bake sale that I posted about on Saturday. Read all about it here (or just scroll down to the last post).  I made Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and these Cookies and Cream Rice Krispy Treats. I saw these on Annie’s Eats a several months ago. For whatever reason, Rice Krispy Treats are always a huge hit at bake sales so I decided to put a twist on them with the Cookies and Cream version.

These were really not hard to make and such a delicous twist on your everyday Rice Krispy Treat. And who doesn’t love Oreos?

Cookies and Cream Rice Krispy Treats
(Recipe source Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips because it was all I had!)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ounces (1 small package) marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups Rice Krispies
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped, plus extra finely chopped for topping
4-6 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Directions:

Melt bittersweet chocolate in a small glass bowl, microwaving in 30 second intervals. Stirring after each 30 second interval, until completely melted. Set aside.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with butter or cooking spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Turn off heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla. Gently stir in Rice Krispies and Oreos, mix to coat evenly. Press mixture into prepared pan, leveling the top.

Place white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stir continuously until completely melted. Spread melted white chocolate over the Rice Crispies and then sprinkle and press in remaining chopped oreos. Set aside to cool and let chocolate set completely. Cut into squares.

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