I had no idea it was National Peanut Butter Day, but it is! And that’s mighty fine timing, because my sister, Jennifer, is back with her recipe for Peanut Butter Bars. Did I eat that entire plate of them for breakfast one morning? Why, yes. Yes, I did.
By Jennifer Rather.
I am not a nagging wife. If I started nagging my husband about his To-Do list, then he would have free reign to point out the state of my kitchen, closets and laundry room.
That ain’t happening.
There are certain Saturdays, however, when the “Man Bug” bites him, and he rises at 8 a.m. to spend the next 10 hours getting EVERYTHING done. He mows, hammers, glues, trims and chops. He replaces every battery and light bulb in the house. It’s like watching myself clean during a “Hoarders” marathon on A&E.
On these Saturdays, I make his favorite Peanut Butter Bars.
He always says these three-layer bars are “what a Reese’s wishes it could be.”
You start by covering the bottom of a baking dish in peanut butter cookie dough, so it bakes into one giant peanut butter cookie. When that bottom layer has cooled, you spread on the middle layer – a creamy peanut butter wonder of powdered sugar and peanut butter whipped to within an inch of its life. Then you pour on the top layer, a chocolate glaze. (Thank god, I know.) After that, the whole concoction of goodness goes into the fridge just long enough to set the glaze.
I like to take the pan out of the fridge about 30 minutes before I know Husband is going to want it. That’s when the glaze is still set, but the peanut butter filling gets creamy. Ooey-gooey. And slicing the bars is much easier with the cold knocked off.
When he polishes these bars off on Sunday, watching football in his pajama pants, and I cuddle next to him, thinking about my house full of lights that work, we both feel totally satisfied with the world.
Peanut Butter Bars
Courtesy of Jennifer Rather (EzraPoundCake.com)
- 1 batch of your favorite peanut butter cookie dough (see below for Magical Peanut Butter Cookies) OR 1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5 oz.) peanut butter cookie mix, prepared according to package directions
Peanut Butter Filling:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- For the Bottom Layer: Combine all of the ingredients for the bottom layer in a large bowl until a soft dough forms. Press dough evenly in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack, at least 1 hour.
- For the Peanut Butter Filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Alternate adding the confectioner’s sugar and milk. Spread mixture evenly over cooled bottom layer.
- For the Chocolate Glaze: Measure the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup butter into a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. If the chocolate chips haven’t completely melted, microwave and stir in 10 second increments, just until the glaze is smooth. (Don’t burn the chocolate!) Spread the glaze over the peanut butter filling.
- Refrigerate the bars for 30 minutes, or until chocolate glaze is set.
Magical Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Paula Deen’s “The Lady & Sons, Too!”
Makes 18 cookies
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar, or 1 1/3 cup sugar replacement (recommended: Splenda)
- 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
- Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet.
- Dip a fork in sugar, and press a crisscross design on each cookie.
- Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar. Cool slightly before removing from pan.