Dec 30, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crumble Bars

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

The Piece of Cake Kitchen Presents: Moments in Life During Which You Might Think to Yourself, “Oh, man, I am IN FOR IT.”

1. You suddenly realize you are drunk in front of your future in-laws.

2. The doctor says, “I think we need to try forceps.”

3. You are mid-recipe for these completely insane Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crumble Bars.

If the name alone doesn’t get you into all sorts of trouble, then maybe a rundown of what we’re dealing with here will: a chewy, nutty, oatmeal cookie-like base, a salty-sweet streusel topping studded with chocolate bits, and to hold it all together, a layer of what basically translates to peanut butter caramel hovering in between. Oh, I said it. Like a young lady who drinks her face off in front of her future in-laws, I said it.

Now, I know you may be thinking to yourself, “Sweet Lord, Shauna, you’re throwing something with chocolate and and peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk at us four days after Christmas?!” Just hear me out, okay? Yes, these bars are crazy, I know that. But! They came out of a need to clear out the few last bits of goodies that were acquired from weeks of holiday baking and entertaining–some half-consumed bags and bars of chocolate, leftover nuts from cocktail noshing, that sort of thing. So these bars are resourceful! These bars are green, people! They are also chockful of health! Heart-healthy nuts and oats, guys!

Also, there’s only a couple days left to ride that cushy denial train until we arrive at the New Year and skinny jean-fitting reality comes crashing down on us. Won’t you join me? All aboard!

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Crumble Bars

You truly can make this recipe all your own. I’ve listed some suggestions, but go with whatever varieties of chocolate and nuts you happen to have on hand–milk, dark, semi-sweet chips, bits of stocking-stuffer candy bar, salted or unsalted nuts, whatever you’ve got. If the nuts are raw instead of roasted, a quick toasting while the oven’s preheating adds a nice touch of flavor.

Makes 16

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chips or chopped
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, soft but still cool
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (I used half pecans, half roasted, salted almonds)
1 egg, at room temperature
7 ounces (about half a can) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (crunchy is ok, don’t use natural peanut butter)

Position an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with a strip of parchment paper or aluminum foil that will fit along the bottom and up two opposite sides of the pan with a bit of overhang to create “handles” to easily remove the bars later.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Stir in the brown sugar, oats and nuts. Put about a quarter of this mixture (roughtly 1 1/2 cups) into a small and stir in the chocolate bits. Set aside.

Into the remaining three-quarters of the crumb mixture, stir in the egg until it comes together into an evenly moistened mass, sort of like a loose cookie dough. Pat the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and pre-bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until well-blended. When the bottom layer of the bars is finished pre-baking, spread the peanut butter mixture evenly over the warm layer. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate-crumble mixture evenly over everything and press down lightly.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, until golden brown. The bars will feel very soft and not done in the center, but they will set as they cool. Let the bars cool in the pan for 10 minutes before running a thin knife along the edges and removing the slab to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares. Store any leftover in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

  • Heck yeah I'll join you. I'm properly recovered from the insane baking bonanza that was my kitchen last week after which I swore off the oven ever again. Then I cleaned up the mess, ran the self clean cycle on the oven, and accepted the many compliments of recipients of those varied baked goods, and I find myself today pondering what I should bake just for the heck of it. And really wanting something new and different. This works!

  • oh wow.
    just when I thought I was OVER sugar for a while 😉

  • Shauna–"Just Because" could have also been a good title for this post. Go for it! And can you come clean up my kitchen while you're at it?

    C&C–It's only December 30th. Still the holidays. WORK IT.

  • Technically we can still call these "healthy" because there ARE oats in it. That's my in-denial self talking. The one who secretly wants more peanut butter and more chocolate.

  • i am all over these bars…and yes i will trick myself and others with the "healthy" factor…thanks, can't wait to try 'em

  • Super yum! This combines my most favorite bar — oatmeal carmelitas — and my most favorite dessert ingredient — sweetened condensed milk. I doubled it to make it in a 9×13 and used roasted cashews, almonds and peanuts. Another great recipe!
    Melissa L in WA

  • these sound a lot like bars I make PB Oatmeal Dream Bars. SO yummy! love the combo

  • I have always known theas as passion bars – lol – strange name i know. don't know why though.

    i always double recipe & bake in 9×13 pan. Yum! I also sprinkle the choc chips directly over the pb-milk mixture then cover with oat toppping, so the choc really melts into the pb layer. pure bliss!


  • Hey there,
    Your recipes look very good when done bloging you should put all your recipes together and try to make a cookbook. Im sure your readers would love that. Im new at blogging and really like the blogs with recipes as mine is a blog about cooking and baking as well.-Emily 🙂 goodluck and keep posting.

  • […] Piece of Cake […]

Leave a comment

7 + six =

my books

I Support

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.