Thursday, February 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Bars


Chocolate and peanut butter: the most delicious flavor combination of all time and, incidentally, the key to my heart. These bars take the magical chocolate and peanut butter combo to another level. I swear, they're like crack. You know a recipe is going to turn out well when the first step is to combine peanut butter with butter.

Peanut butter and butter, enough said.

I found this recipe in a cookbook I received as a gift, called College Cooking. You wouldn't guess just by looking at it, but it contains a lot of really great recipes. It's the perfect gift for any college student who is just learning to cook. It was written by recent grads, so it addresses a lot of issues unique to college students. It includes sections on healthy eating and cooking on a budget and features lots of menus for entertaining, e.g. recipes for a tapas party and an Oktoberfest party.

This recipe was the first thing I made when I moved off the Northwestern campus and started cooking for myself. My roommates, Liz and Emily, and I made these bars one of our first nights living in our new house the summer before junior year. They were awesome, as you can imagine, so I decided to make them again as a treat for Superbowl Sunday.


Not only are these bars delicious, they are also super simple and require very little hands-on time. The recipe is pretty basic, so feel free to spice it up. I decided to crush up a Butterfinger and sprinkle it over the top of the bars, but other types of candy would work as well (e.g. Heath or Reese's Pieces). A chocolate cookie crust could also be really good.

A couple of tips: first, don't overcook the bars. If they're in the oven for too long they get super crumbly and have a weird, burnt taste. Second, let the chocolate chips melt almost completely before you try and spread the chocolate. If you don't, the chocolate will pull at the surface of the bars and rip pieces off the top. The pieces will get mixed up in your chocolate and your bars won't be very pretty. Third, do not use natural peanut butter. I am normally a huge fan of natural peanut butter, but not when it comes to baking. Baked goods have better texture and better flavor when made with good old processed PB.

Other than that, my only advice is to eat plenty of batter. It's amazing.

Behold the chocolate and peanut butter goodness!

Bon appetit!

Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Makes 25-30 bars 
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
18-oz. jar creamy peanut butter, I use JIF
1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs, about 12 squares
3 cups confectioners' sugar, approximately the amount in a 1-lb. box
12-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 2.1-oz Butterfinger bar

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine peanut butter and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until smooth. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix until completely combined. You may want to remove the whisk attachment at the end and finish stirring with a spoon.


Spread the mixture in an 8x11-inch glass baking dish (9x13 works too), pressing down on the batter to form a firm even surface, and bake for 30 minutes. While bars are baking, cut the Butterfinger bar into 1/2-inch pieces and process in a food processor until candy is fine with some small chunks.

Let the chocolate melt before spreading or it will rip off the surface of the bars

Remove bars from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes, until the chips begin to melt. Spread evenly over the top. Sprinkle with Butterfinger bits. Let cool slightly and cut bars while still warm.


Source: adapted from College Cooking

14 comments:

  1. My husband would go nuts over these! They look delicious:)

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  2. As Casey's resident taste tester, my comments are "om nom nom"

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  3. So yummy and beautiful pictures!

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  4. I had seven and wish I had an eighth.

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  5. Oh yum.....this would hit the spot. I love the peanut butter and chocolate combination.

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  6. Your peanut butter cup bars just look so good, no really, just want to reach into my screen and grab a couple. I think I will be making these this afternoon, thanks so much.

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  7. Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,

    Vincent
    petitchef.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,

    Vincent
    petitchef.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ran across your blog from Foodie. These peanut butter cup bars look great! Definitely a recipe I want to try. Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica
    www.dinnerwiththeshivers.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful.. I love PB so I love these bars..

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  11. Hi there Casey!

    My name is Steve Walters and I recently started blogging at http://www.eatingbangkok.com, which is currently being updated with recipes, but in the next few months will be my vehicle for covering the food and restaurant scene in Bangkok Thailand.

    I am now in the process of meeting as many food bloggers as I can and I found your site http://www.caseycooks.com recently and was pretty impressed. I've added your site to my Foodie Blogs list here: http://www.eatingbangkok.com/foodie-blogs/ and would also like to add you to my blogroll.

    If you could add my site to your blogroll and write back to let me know it has been added (foodie [at] eatingbangkok.com) I will add you to mine as well and the exchange would be greatly appreciated!

    As you might imagine I am very excited to get moved to Bangkok and get started on covering the food scene there as I feel it is an area that isn't well covered by English speaking bloggers. I plan on adding loads of great reviews, pictures and even video and will be holding contests as well. It should be fun, entertaining and informative for everyone that visits.

    Thank you so much in advance for adding me to your blogroll and I look forward to reading your posts (I've subscribed!) and maybe even featuring some of your own posts as I do plan on a weekly roundup of Thai themed recipes and posts from other food bloggers.

    Warm regards,
    Steve

    P.S. If you are on Twitter I would love to have you as a follower and I follow back:
    http://www.twitter.com/eatingbangkok

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yum! Wish I was there to eat one!

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  13. My family loves this!Its so much better when you make it at home.I followed you from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this peanut butter cups widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about recipes for peanut butter cups,Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  14. My mouth is watering! You have a great blog and I have decided to pass on the Stylish Blogger Award to you! Please check out the link for more info and instructions.
    http://homestyleworldcook.blogspot.com/2011/03/award-and-other-thoughts-on-blogging.html

    Looking forward to seeing more good food from you!

    ReplyDelete