Rather than panic in the face of my first hurricane/tropical storm, that is following on the heels of my first earthquake (and let’s hope the storm is like the earthquake and amounts to nothing), I thought I would share my favorite peanut butter bar recipe. I had grand plans to bake complicated things this week and then got lazy. Maybe tomorrow, when I’m not planning to leave my apartment and hopefully the power will still be on.
These very bars actually went to a friend who is in town for interviews. I feel that the combination of peanut butter and chocolate cures all ills, especially when topped with some peanut butter chocolate icing (which isn’t pictured because it was a last minute thing). But really, no icing is necessary and if you want a bar for snacking, this is a go to. Also delicious when made with half or all whole wheat flour.
I also made a hazelnut plum tart for a friend’s birthday which was a greater success than I expected (although serving the first piece was a small trial because I didn’t use a springform pan, but it turns out the crust is fairly stable so fancy pans are unnecessary). You can find the recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I recommend it without much change, although next time I might 1 1/2 the crust recipe and I enjoyed the addition of extra ground hazelnuts to both the crust and the filling. Plus I added extra cinnamon and some cardamom. And like Deb, I used a mixture of plums of varying degrees of ripeness. We ate almost the whole thing, even though we’d all had multiple helpings of my friend’s delicious paella. Nothing like seasonal summer desserts! Don’t waste any more time or produce, friends. Start baking, hurricanes be damned.
Peanut Butter Bars with Milk Chocolate (adapted from Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook)
8×8 pan (or 1 1/2 the recipe for a 9×9) – 350 degrees farenheit1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar (or a little less) 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup rolled oats 1 cup flour (can be all unbleached or half whole-wheat or even all whole-wheat) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped into chunks 1. Cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy. 2. Add in egg and vanilla and mix well. 3. Add the oats, flour, baking soda and salt and mix to combine. 4. Fold in milk chocolate. 5. Press batter into greased pan and bake for 25 min. or until tester comes out relatively clean. Underbake rather than overbake – these benefit from the fudginess. Note: If batter seems impressively thick, add a bit of milk.
Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Icing
I strongly believe that anyone can make a delicious icing with minimal effort. This recipe is one of those that I just added stuff until it tasted good. I know it’s hard tasting icing, but take one for the team, won’t you?1/4 cup butter, softened (if it’s a little melted, it doesn’t matter) 1/2 to 1 cup of icing sugar – just add it gradually until you get a thick creamy mix that’s spreadable A generous splash of vanilla 1 generous tablespoon smooth peanut butter 2 oz(ish) of milk chocolate, melted and COOLED SLIGHTLY (as my mother reminded me last night, chocolate occasionally will seize if immediately put into cold substances. So take precautionary measures and cool your chocolate a bit, plus whisk continuously while pouring. Another thing, melting chocolate is delicate. Don’t do it on full power or set it for increments longer than 1 minute. Stir regularly and at the end when there are just small chunks, stir until they melt, don’t continue to microwave.) 1. Cream butter with sugar 2. Add vanilla and beat 3. Add peanut butter and beat 4. Add chocolate, mix gently 5. Taste and assess for consistency – add more ingredients as necessary This icing would also be good with a bit of cream cheese or even sour cream if you were feeling the need to cut the sweetness more, but the bars themselves tend to not be too sweet so I don’t think it will be a problem.