Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shortbread Bars

4/1/10



These bars remind me of the wealthy, spoiled cousin of peanut butter Twix candy bars. If I were a peanut butter Twix candy bar, I would secretly hate these bars. I would be cordial enough in their company so my resentment would never be publicly known.

And, coming on like a girly ball out of left field. I have vacuumed up at least 50 lady bugs today. Since the weather warmed up suddenly, it's been like Lord of the Flies, Rainbow Brite style. I'm not even going to bother to put the vacuum away anymore. As of now, the Insecta Ingesta is sprawled across the living room floor with the long hose aimed strategically at the patio door. We'll see how long it lasts there before: A) The lady bugs crawl back out and attack. Or, B) I trip on it in the dark, curse like a sailor, and throw it back into the depths of the 'God knows what's inside there', closet. My money's on the latter.



It's been far too long since I've made something with my beloved peanut butter. I missed it, and the reunion was a lovely one. The base of these bars is a buttery shortbread cookie crust. The middle is obviously, peanut butter. And it's all topped with a seductively suave dark chocolate ganache. Hello, and Thank You. These are ultra-rich so I suggest cutting them into small pieces. If you find yourself eating a lot of them, you can take some comfort in reminding yourself how tiny the squares were. Or just give them all away so you can stop avoiding your bikini, Which has been eyeballing you since February.



Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shortbread Bars
(found on fine Cooking)
* printer friendly Recipe *

Crust ingredients
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
9-1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

Filling ingredients
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural but an emulsified variety such as Jif)
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Ganache ingredients
5 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. heavy cream

Method
Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal.

Shortbread
In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour and peanuts to make a stiff dough. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the dough for 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the crust is golden-brown all over and completely set, 20 to 25 more minutes. Let the crust cool completely before topping.

Filling
Put the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add about half of the confectioners’ sugar to the mixer along with the vanilla extract and 1 Tbs. hot water. Beat on low speed until combined, then on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 more minute. Beat in the remaining sugar and mix, about 1 more minute, until the mixture is smooth and thick, like frosting. If the filling seems too stiff, add another 1 Tbs. hot water and beat for another minute.

With a knife or metal offset spatula, spread the filling over the fully cooled crust. The filling may not spread smoothly and evenly, but don’t worry; the ganache will cover it.

Ganache
Put the chocolate in a small heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.

Spread the ganache over the peanut-butter filling with a metal offset spatula to coat evenly. Let the bars sit at least 3 hours to allow the ganache to set before cutting (or refrigerate for 1 hour).

Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-1/2-inch squares.

11 comments:

Allie said...

I make chocolate caramel shortbread squares which are slightly similiar. I love the idea of the peanut butter. I can't wait to try these :)

LittleMissBaker said...

They look so pretty :D

That's funny my last post was a peanut butter bar recipe lol :D, so similar but different.

Stella said...

These look so good, and, yes, they are like the 'better' cousin to peanut butter Twix! Hey, your site looks different, Valerie! You know, sometimes I wonder if my background should be white???

Valerie said...

Thanks Ladies. :)

Stella, I like the look of your blog. Mine needed a change. The font that I prefer to use was difficult to read on a dark background, I kept seeing spots after proofreading posts.

Justine said...

Wow these sound (and look) wonderful. I wish I had one about know to go with my coffee!

Mimi said...

I love peanut butter so these look like the perfect treat.
Mimi

Dolce said...

Lovely! (Not like I need peanut butter and chocolate. but I WANT it...)

Good luck with the ladybugs... ;)

Rambling Tart said...

Oh my! That's a little bit of heaven right there :-)

Stella said...

Hey Valerie, yeah, if you were seeing spots I'm sure others might have too, and a page should definitely be easily read. I actually just worry about this exact thing. Otherwise, I love the dark. The light looks clean and pretty though with your photos though...
Hope you have a good Holiday Weekend!

Ash said...

These just look so fantastic! and Oh so good!! These might be my weakness.

Duchess said...

These look amazing! I can't wait to try it :0)

Merci!

 

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