Peanut butter, chocolate, and cookies. Surely it doesn’t get any better than that? Well, let me introduce you to my chocolate and peanut butter bars.
In case you guys hadn’t noticed, I really like baking. But what I really love is baking things for Katie. And I have never had such an amazing reception from her for something I made than I have for these peanut butter bars. And they are stupidly easy to make. But then, some of the best things are.
You’re only going to need a few things (that you’ve probably already got lying around) to make these bad boys, and it’s not going to take you very long either. The base is basically just some crushed up digestive biscuits (or graham crackers) glued together with peanut butter, melted butter, and sugar. You can add a little salt if you like, but I found that the digestive biscuits and the peanut butter were salty enough.
If you have no idea what a digestive biscuit is, then I guess you’re not from round here. Graham crackers are a great alternative, although you may need to adjust the sugar/salt levels to compensate. I think that digestive biscuits are less sweet than Graham crackers, although my most recent Graham cracker consumption was in the form of Teddy Grahams – which you are probably going to tell me is something entirely different…
What really impressed Katie though, was the marbled chocolate and peanut butter topping. Don’t tell her, but it is the easiest thing to make – although I think you’ll agree that it looks bloody brilliant 🙂
The chocolate base is made from melted chocolate (obviously) as well as some butter and golden syrup to make things a little bit more smooth and soft. It will still set hard though, don’t worry. The peanut butter swirls are made from peanut butter flavoured melts (or you could use those peanut butter chips that Reese’s make if you can find them) mixed with some smooth peanut butter. Pop this in the microwave for a minute or so, and then drizzle lines up and down the topping. The secret to the swirls is to drag a toothpick or skewer through the melted mixture, until it forms beautiful patterns like the ones below (I learnt that trick from Sally).
You can’t really go wrong!
I used dark chocolate (70% cocoa) on these peanut butter bars, although if that’s not really your thing then I think it would work just as well with milkier chocolate. Not white though – hell no. Just make sure the chocolate you are using is good quality. My motto is to only use chocolate for baking that I would be perfectly happy to just eat by itself. Baking doesn’t mean you can use shoddy chocolate and hope that by melting it it will suddenly taste great. It won’t.
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- 120g (½ cup) unsalted butter
- 40g (3 tablespoons) white caster sugar
- 225g (2½ cups) digestive biscuit or graham cracker crumbs
- 200g (¾ cup) smooth peanut butter
- 200g (7oz) dark or bitter-sweet chocolate (I used Green & Blacks 70%)
- 30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup or corn syrup
- 90g (½ cup) peanut butter chips or melts
- 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
- Line an 8 inch square brownie tin with foil or greaseproof paper, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the butter has melted, mix in the biscuit or cracker crumbs and 200g of peanut butter. Give it a good mix, until the crumbs are completely coated in the peanut butter mixture.
- Pour the biscuit mixture into the pre-prepared tin, and smooth out until it reaches all the corners and is nice and level. This is very important for the next stage.
- In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter, and syrup over a low heat. Stir near constantly, as you do not want the chocolate to burn. Once the chocolate has melted, pour the mixture over the butter base, and spread out right to the edges by tilting the pan or using the back of a spoon.
- Put the peanut butter chips or melts and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter in a microwave proof bowl, and pop in the microwave until melted. Make sure to give it a good stir every 30 seconds so it melts evenly. Once melted, drizzle over the chocolate topping with a spoon, and then score with a skewer or toothpick to make a pattern.
- Put the tin in the fridge to set, for a good couple of hours. Once set, remove from the tin, and peel off the greaseproof paper or foil from the back of the slab. Cut into squares using a sharp knife - it should make about 16 pieces.
- Store in the fridge or in a very cool place. The bars can be frozen for 2-3 months.