“Peanut butter is the paté of childhood.”~Florence Fabricant
Peanut butter feels, to me, like an old friend. Peanut butter was there for me on days when spaghetti-os weren’t available, and when mom was trying to make me eat canned English peas that I just couldn’t swallow. What kept me full and protein-fortified? What made my childish tastebuds tingle? It was peanut butter, that brilliant invention of George Washington Carver, and I still adore it to this day. I am not alone in my love for this American staple, either. The Food Network website has 88O recipes that include peanut butter! Even the more “gourmet” Bon Appétit website has 62 recipes which include the use of peanut butter. It’s just good; they can’t help it!
My friend Chef Christian Chavanne asked me if I had a good recipe for some kind of chewy, peanut butter-y bar, similar to a brownie in form, to include in a fabulous dessert he’s dreaming up. (If Chef Christian makes it, it will be fabulous, I assure you.) I went into my laboratory (read: kitchen) and started sifting, mixing, stirring, tasting, and came up with this:
Trust me when I say that, if you like peanut butter at all, this recipe will make you outrageously happy and will make your children think you are the coolest mom ever. They are dense, chewy, and the edges were cookie-like, but not hard at all. The flavor of peanut butter was perfect, and biting into the peanut butter chips give an extra punch of peanut butter flavor. Perfect.
MamaSteph’s Peanut Butter Blondie Bars
1 cup plain flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 TBS + 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter at room temperature (would not suggest using natural for this recipe)
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 and line a 9″ square pan with greased foil, letting the foil hang over the sides for easy lifting from the pan after baking. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In mixer bowl, whisk butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well; then add peanut butter. When well-blended, add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated; then add the peanut butter chips. Mix until evenly distributed. Pour into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with relatively few crumbs stuck to it. Cool in the pan for as long as you can stand to wait, then remove using the foil and cut into squares.
I have found that the easiest way to cut brownies and bars is to remove from pan with the foil and place on a cutting board, then cut with a large, sharp knife. This method prevents scoring of the bottom of your baking pans, too.
In case you don’t know, my friends Carrie and Keith Parsons, owners of Nutty’s Peanut Butter in Grand Saline, Texas, make my favorite peanut butter in the world: Nutty’s Butterscotch Chip. It is amazing, that’s all I can say. While this recipe uses jarred peanut butter, (not the natural version), I couldn’t do a post about peanut butter without mentioning Nutty’s and my love for the people AND the product! Click on the link to check them out! Rachael Ray and The Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team have already discovered Nutty’s and love it, too!
I hope you love my peanut butter blondie bars as much as I do; let me know! Enjoy!
Copyright 2011 Stephanie Hill Frazier. All rights reserved.