Yesterday was National Peanut Butter Day. Yes, I know I'm a day late, but in my defense I didn't discover this wonderful holiday until late in the day and by then I was already baking two kinds of delicious donuts and getting ready for some girl time later in the evening. But, actually, according to punchbowl.com January 24th is, and since I didn't get that memo and some sources say it was yesterday I seem to have missed it all the way around.
In honor, I thought I'd wax poetic about my love for peanut butter. Okay, not really because let's be honest, if I tried that it would just be scary for all of us. But, I do seriously love peanut butter. I'm the girl who will eat it straight from the jar with a spoon. I'll dip pretzels in it, smear it on some saltine crackers, add it to a smoothie. I'll even go healthy and eat it on apples. Crunchy or creamy doesn't matter too much, although if I have a choose I choose creamy every time. And, I'm not a fan of the thinner natural peanut butters, nope give me the thick and smooth stuff with all the added sugar and probably a few ingredients I don't know how to pronounce. A few of my favorite recipes that I have shared in the past can be found here, here, and here. The only way I can think of that I won't eat peanut butter is in savory dishes. I know some people totally disagree with me, and that's okay, I respect that, but for me, peanut butter is not meant to be included in my main course.
If I had to choose my favorite way to get my peanut butter fix it would be paired with chocolate. Whether combined in a cookie, mixed up in a no-bake pie or as part of some kind of candy I don't care, just give me the two together. It's no secret that I have a massive sweet tooth and Reese's Cups are quite possibly my favorite candy. It's also no secret that I like to try to make things from scratch, if for no other reason than to prove that I can. I have made my share of faux Reese's Cups over the years, but my absolute favorite chocolate and peanut butter concoction to make is Real Deal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars aka Reese's Cup Bars. I don't know the original source, but the recipe was given to me by a friend whose dad makes them. From the first taste I was in love. They are simple if a bit messy to make, but well worth it. The only downside to these amazing bars are that you have to wait atleast an hour after making to cut into them because they have to chill. That hour feels like days to me! Not to mention, once I cut into them it's pretty hard not to eat one every time I enter the kitchen.
Once chilled you can store these little bits of heaven at room temperature or in the fridge. If you store them at room temp they will get pretty soft. I prefer storing them in the fridge, but then again, I just prefer my peanut butter cups crunchy and cold anyway. So, clearly it's just a matter of choice. If you have never eaten them cold give it a try, I swear it's amazing!
As for the photo, can I rant about that for a second please? As I said, I was baking donuts yesterday so this photo is from a little while back, and I don't love it. Do you ever take photos and then you either accidentally delete them or can't remember where the heck you saved them? Yeah, that would be me right about now. If you remember the computer crises a few weeks back you'll understand why I know the photos aren't saved to my hard drive. But, I always back photos up to flashdrives or cd's and I can't find the photos on either. Oh well, atleast I found one photo so that I could share these babies.
Real Deal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
aka Reese's Cup Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1. Pour melted butter into a 9x13 inch glass pan, stir in graham cracker crumbs. Add peanut butter and confectioner's sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Press evenly into the bottom of the pan.
2. In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Stir occasionally until completely melted and mixture is combined. Pour on top of peanut butter filling mixture, and smooth evenly. Chill in the refrigerator atleast one hour before cutting into squares.
Note: A great trick I use is to place the pan I am making the bars in over the large burner on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium, toss your 2 sticks of butter, cubed into the dish and stir it around til it's melted. When the butter is melted turn the heat off and proceed with the recipe as instructed. This way saves me from dirtying up another dish and the pan is warm so the other ingredients are easier to incorporate. And when cutting these I like using a bench scraper. That's my little trick when cutting any kind of bars. I just mash that baby down into them and get straight cuts and perfectly square bars everytime.