Saturday, April 2, 2016

3-Layer Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Bars

Because you haven't had enough shuga after Easter...

Because you might need a solution to your overstock of chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs...

Because you've run out of candy dishes to fit all of that Easter candy in...

You can make these sweet AND salty layered peanut butter chocolate fudge bars.

Bars are easy to make. They are fast, satisfying and interesting because they can feature different layers with contrasting flavours and textures. They are not as Science-y as cake or pastry. They're more casual but still worthy.

The base for these irresistible bars is best described as a peanut butter shortbread cookie. Crispy, crunchy and not too sweet.

The middle layer is where your Easter chocolate gets reborn. If you are loved enough for people to know you like dark over milk (right!?) then you should have plenty of dark chocolate bunnies and eggs. You need 3 ounces of it to make a brownie-like fudgy filling. A bit of honey creates a more gooey texture but still firm enough to hold a slice.

Maybe you also were gifted a white chocolate bunny? Oh no... I'm so sorry.

White chocolate is good only if it's good. It has to be pure cocoa butter, milk powder and sugar. Other vegetable oils, like palm oil or hydrogenated whatsoever will completely ruin it.

I always recommend only real chocolate to use in baking or in anything in life for more reasons than I want to bother you with. But when it comes to white chocolate, the real stuff melts properly, smoothly and tastes far superior.

Because I also don't allow food waste, you can use that unassuming less-than-delicious white chocolate bunny to make the top glaze since we mix it with peanut butter anyway. If it's a Lindt white chocolate bunny, then you are in a very good place. Someone loves you.

Just be extra cautious as you melt it because even the best white chocolate is sensitive to heat. Use a double boiler, which means using two pots. Or, one pot and one bowl. The pot on the bottom holds simmering water and the bowl resting on top holds the chocolate and peanut butter. The simmering water delivers indirect heat in the form of steam, and since steam cannot get any hotter than 100 degrees C in normal conditions, it ensures that your chocolate does not burn.

Now it's time to bake, and somewhere chocolate Easter bunnies are crying...


3-Layer Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge Bars
Makes 16 squares

For the base:
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
¼ cup (60ml) smooth peanut butter
¾ cup (107g) all-purpose flour

For the filling:
85g (3oz) dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp (42g) unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour

For the topping:
85g (3oz) pure white chocolate
2 tbsp peanut butter

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy using a wide rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Stir in peanut butter until well combined. Add the flour and stir it in gently. Turn the mixture out into your prepared baking pan and press it evenly into the base. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges and golden on the surface. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the chocolate fudge layer, melt chocolate, butter and salt in a small saucepan over very low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla until batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in flour until smooth. Pour the mixture over the still warm pre-baked base and spread it out evenly. Bake until bubbly at the surface and just barely set, about 15-20 minutes (a tester will come out with moist crumbs attached). Do not over-bake. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the topping, melt white chocolate over a double boiler with peanut butter until smooth. Spread the mixture over the cooled brownie layer. Refrigerate until set before cutting into bars. 

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