There’s just something about peanut butter and chocolate. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me happy. Every summer during my elementary years, my family would drive 7 hours to camp at Lake Shasta. There, at a dusty campsite, we would meet my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents for a week of skiing, fishing, and relaxing. It was there that I watched my older cousin do something that I would have never been allowed to do at home: she broke off a piece of a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (reserved for s’mores, of course) and dipped it into a jar of peanut butter. At first I scoffed at her culinary move, but she told me I couldn’t say it was bad until I tried it. I did, but I had to make sure my mom wasn’t watching. Getting in trouble on vacation merits a harsher punishment. (And don’t ask me why I thought I would get in trouble. I guess that’s how an 8-year-old thinks.)
Since then, when I needed a quick fix for peanut butter and chocolate, I will break off a small wedge of a chocolate bar and dip it into peanut butter. My college roommates would look at me with the same look I gave my cousin, and I gave them the same statement my cousin gave me: just try it.
These bars are kind-of like that, only richer, chocolatey-r (yes, it’s a word in my book), and more addicting. I made these bars for my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago. And I cannot tell you enough how amazing and addicting they are! And the best part was that they tasted just as good the next day, and the day after that. So if you’re in a fix for chocolate and peanut butter, instead of reaching for a jar and a wedge, whip up a batch of these. Just try it. Enjoy! xoxo
Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
4 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c smooth peanut butter
¾ c sugar
¼ t salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ c flour
¾ c (4 ½ oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate
8 T unsalted butter
½ t salt
¼ c light corn syrup
1 c + 2 T sugar
½ t espresso powder (optional—but it enhances the flavor of the chocolate)
1 c flour
2 large eggs
¼ c semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ c Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups chopped (or peanut butter chips)
¾ c white chocolate chips
¼ c smooth peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13” glass pan.
In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut butter until soft and light. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Gently mix in the flour until there are no more traces; at this point, the mixture will be a bit crumbly, but when pressed together, it will hold it’s shape.
Dump the crust mixture into the glass pan and spread evenly, reaching all edges and corners. Using the back of a spoon, or the rubber spatula, press down lightly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the crust begins to turn brown. Remove from oven but keep oven on.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate, butter, salt, and corn syrup. Stir to fully combine. Remove from the heat and add the espresso powder, if using, sugar, and flour. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs and mix until fully incorporated. Add the chips and Peanut Butter Cups.
Pour over the crust and bake for 22-24 minutes, To keep the texture fudgy, use a toothpick and enter into the middle of the bars. It should have a few crumbs attached to the toothpick.
Using a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Spread it over the warm bars. Let cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.
Note: You can also cool to room temperature and then put in the fridge to harden up a bit more. They will keep for 5 days in an air-tight container. They do not need to stay in the fridge.