Monday, July 15, 2013

Peanut Butter Bars

This is my step-sister Julie's recipe and she is famous among friends and family for making the best peanut butter bars ever. I was incredibly honored when she shared it with me at my bridal shower and I used to guard the recipe as a closely held family secret. But now with the advent of pinterest, there are lots of similar peanut butter bar recipes all over the place. Don't get me wrong, these are still the best! I didn't make any ingredient changes to her original recipe, other than use Earth Balance instead of butter.  It is ahhh-mazing, made either way.   

If you don't care too much what the bars look like, this is one of the easiest desserts ever. If you want them to be picture perfect to give away to friends, like Julie does, they take a tiny bit more work.  

Peanut Butter Bottom Layer
2 cups peanut butter*
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, melted

Add the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl.  Stir the vanilla into the melted margarine and then add both to the bowl.  Stir everything together (the mixture will be stiff). Press into an ungreased 9x11 pan. If you want them to look pretty, make sure to use a spatula to level the peanut butter mixture out so that it is even thickness all the way around (I never do this. Or I have once but it was so long ago I might have imagined it). Also, I do not have a 9x11 pan and so mine never come out looking quite as good as when Julie makes them in the 9x11 pan.  But they still taste great!  

Chocolate Topping
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (make sure they are dairy free!)  
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir until completely smooth and pour over peanut butter layer, spreading with a spatula to make it as smooth and even as you can. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours and then cut into bars.  You can really chill them as long as you want, but pull them out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you cut them to make the cutting go a little more smoothly.  

*You must buy regular old peanut butter for this recipe.  No healthy peanut butters that lack added oils or must be stirred.  Think Jiff, Skippy, or Peter Pan...