I know, I know – I’ve been on a peanut butter chocolate kick lately. It started with the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars, then with the cookies, and now these. But THESE I assure you are worth it. If you’re a fan of fudgey brownies and creamy peanut butter – all combined – then you MUST MUST MUST make these. I made them a few times, experimenting with a few different things, but I think this is the perfect combination. They are addicting, rich and sinful – so make sure you have some friends to share these with!
1 cup chopped Reese’s peanut butter cup (or other peanut butter candy – feel free to use festive peanut butter M&Ms – I used spring ones in one version of this)
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish – I lined with foil and sprayed with my Pam non-stick cooking spray.
First, make the peanut butter layer: Mix together the peanut butter, sugars and egg until smooth. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Make sure to press well – do not leave it loose or it could crumble after baking. Lightly press Reese’s cups (not chopped) on top of layer, evenly throughout.
Then, make the brownie layer: Melt the baking chocolate and butter together in a saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl – if you microwave, nuke for about 45 seconds, checking and stirring often until completely melted and smooth). Once melted, gradually add in sugar, then vanilla, then eggs. Then, carefully mix in the flour. Once combined, pour the batter into the pan over the peanut butter and Reese’s layer spread layer evenly to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle chopped Reese’s on top.
Bake about 35-38 minutes until the top is slightly cracked around. Cool completely before cutting.
You guys. I just discovered brown butter. I don’t know HOW it took me so long to try it out – but my life is changed. I will never bake again without browning my butter!
Okay so that’s false – but in all seriousness, browning the butter for at least this recipe was amazing. It smelled SO good and I think made these bars so much better than they could have been. You MUST try it – I promise, if you get a good browned butter, you won’t be sorry.
Anyway, I had a hankering for baking with butterscotch and while I love these butterscotch oatmeal cookies, I was seeking something somewhat different. After reviewing a few recipes (and my pantry), I came up with these. They’re chewy, really sweet (warning- not for the non-sweet tooth!), and I think they’re delicious. Be careful – they’re also addicting!
Brown Butter Butterscotch Oatmeal Coconut Bars
(adapted from Cook’s Country … because I don’t have cable and am addicted to this show)
Here’s what you need:
For the bars:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups oatmeal (I used 1 cup quick oats and 1 cup old fashioned – the texture is more chewy with the quick oats and more fibrous / gritty / textured with the old fashioned so i like to mix)
1/2 sweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup butterscotch chips divided in half
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
Here’s what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by spraying with a nonstick cooking spray or butter.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, coconut, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Brown your butter! In a small pan at medium heat, melt the butter. Let the butter continue to cook until a rich golden brown color. Stir continuously so as not to burn the butter – burned butter does not equal brown butter! Feel free to use this site as a guide as well for additional direction on how to perfectly brown your butter.
In a large bowl, combine the hot brown butter with half of the 1 1/2 cup chips (3/4 cup). Mix together until melted and smooth. Add in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla.
Slowly add in flour/oat/coconut mixture, just until incorporated.
Add in other half of chips (3/4) and combine. (Note: I like to add in about 1/2 chips and sprinkle rest on top of batter when in pan)
Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread so it is even. Bake about 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
When the bars are almost done, make the butterscotch drizzle: Mix 1/4 cup butterscotch chips, brown sugar and water and melt in a saucepan over medium, stirring so not to burn. Alternatively, you could make in the microwave – again, just be careful to not burn it!
Drizzle over the warm bars. Let the bars cool completely before removing them – this will be tough, but it’s so worth it! Enjoy – share some with your coworkers or family 🙂
I recently asked a group of coworkers what their favorite candy was. You know, for scientific research purposes (my study will be coming out in a few years. It’s going to take a while to taste all this candy*). Anyway, one of my colleagues mentioned Whatchamacallit bars as being his favorite. Do you remember those Whatchamacallit bars? You know, they were peanut butter/rice candy bars with caramel and chocolate? I came across this commercial from the 80s to describe the bar (the sad thing is, I was definitely younger than these kids in the commercial when this was airing on TV):
Now do you remember?
Anyway, the bars sounded like a glorified Rice Krispies treat to me. So of course, I had to buy a few, sample them, and make a dessert after them. You know, for science!
(AKA Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats with Caramel and Chocolate)
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil and set aside.
Measure out Rice Krispies and pour them into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a saucepan over low to medium low heat, melt together marshmallows and butter. Melt until fully combined and fluffy. Add in peanut butter and continue melting. Stir the mixture to avoid burning.
Pour the peanut butter/marshmallow/butter mixture into the Rice Krispies and combine the ingredients well so that Krispies are completely coated.
Once coated, add the Rice Krispies mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the cereal throughout the baking dish and flatten out.
In the same saucepan, add caramel pieces and milk. Heat until melted and combined. Stir so as not to burn the mixture.
Pour melted caramel over Rice Krispies mixture and spread across, creating an evenly distributed top layer.
In the same saucepan (I’m all about reusing my dishes) or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips over low heat. These will burn or change texture if you take too long so continue to stir the mixture until melted. Pour melted chocolate over caramel layer and spread across.
Optional: Find real Whatchamacallit Bars and chop them up into thin slivers. Sprinkle slivered bars across chocolate layer when still wet.
Cool for 30 minutes to one hour before cutting and serving. I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process slightly 🙂 Yes, I’m that impatient.
What’s your favorite variation on Rice Krispies treats? Give me your ideas! These toffee nutella rice krispies treats are pretty good if you’re looking for inspiration. They combined nutella+Heath bar!
Did you remember Whatchamacallits?
*Please note: I’m not actually doing a study on candy bars for science. Or baking for science. BUT HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?
It’s apple season! Which means there are so many fun things that I can be baking with apples. And we have more than enough apples to spare. A few weeks ago,, B and I went apple picking. And then we got a few apples in our CSA. And then we got a few apples at a race we did. Needless to say, I had a few extra apples to spare. I didn’t feel like making a pie. Or a cake. Bars? Perfect! I definitely recommend you try these – with or without the glaze. B loved them without the glaze with his morning coffee. And then I brought them with the glaze to B’s family’s clambake as a sweet treat. They’re easy, and smell amazing in the oven.
Apple Bars with Maple Brown Butter Glaze
Here’s what you need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, melted
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 ½ cup apple, chopped (I used 2 large apples)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Here’s what you need for the glaze:
¼ c (½ stick) butter, browned
1 – 1 ½ c powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1-2 Tbs milk, if needed (I used almond milk)
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the bars.
Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Here what you do to make the brown butter maple glaze:
Heat butter on a saucepan on low to medium-low. Once butter is melted, heat a little longer until butter starts to smell and turn a light brown / caramel color. Stir and keep an eye on butter so as not to burn!
When brown, stir in sifted powdered sugar with a whisk. Stir carefully, removing any clumps.
Add in maple syrup and continue to stir. Depending on consistency, add milk. I only needed 1 Tbs of milk and used what I had on hand – unsweetened almond milk.
A week ago, a coworker mentioned she had some extra Nutella laying around – she had bought some a while ago but didn’t seem to be using it. I immediately jumped at the chance to take it off her hands – and of course try a few recipes I’d been eyeing.
When I found myself with a completely unopened jar on my hands, I wasn’t sure what to make. B doesn’t really like Nutella – but if it were a recipe that had just a subtle hint of Nutella , among other flavors, that may do. I saw a recipe for a peanut butter pretzel bar – and it looked amazing. Seeing that, I thought – what could make that better? Nutella! And these bars were born.
I have two warnings for you if you try to make them:
1. They are addicting. They are SO good and taste amazing.
2. The pretzel crust and peanut butter didn’t hold too well together, so they didn’t look too nice. but since they tasted amazing, I didn’t really care. That’s why I’ve added the following note:
NOTE: I need to make this recipe again, with the proposed suggestions:
IF I decide to continue with a pretzel crust, I would recommend making sure the pretzels are finely ground to help them stay. The crust didn’t stay as well as I wanted
I think next time I would prefer to have the bottom layer be peanut butter, middle layers be chocolate and then Nutella and then sprinkle pretzels or heath bar on top
Peanut Butter, Nutella, Chocolate Pretzel Bars
Here’s what you need:
3 cups crushed butter flavored pretzels
1 cup melted butter plus 1 1/2 c butter, softened
6 tbsp sugar
1 box graham crackers, crumbled in a food processor
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup Nutella, divided into 1/4 cup and 1 cup
Here’w what you do:
Crush the butter pretzels in the blender. Grind well, but not into a powder – it’s good with some texture. Mix the pretzels with 1 c. melted butter and 6 tbsp sugar. Set aside about 1/2 c. of the crushed pretzel mixture and spread the rest into a 9×13 well-greased pan. Bake for 12-15 min in 400 degree oven.
While the pretzel crust is baking, mix together the rest of the butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners sugar, vanilla and peanut butter until blended and smooth. Pour the mixture over the pretzel crust when cool. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm.
In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of Nutella, stirring until smooth. Be careful not to let the chips burn.
Spread the chocolate Nutella mixture over the peanut butter layer, and refrigerate for another hour, until firm.
Spread the additional 1 cup of Nutella over the chocolate layer, and refrigerate again. When the bars are firm, cut into squares.
Enjoy!! I stored mine in the fridge to keep the pretzel crust crunchy.
I looooove caramel and chocolate. Yum yum yum. Chocolate and caramel, in my opinion, is one of the most heavenly flavor combinations, in addition to peanut butter and chocolate of course!
B and I had a few people over for the Super Bowl this year. Last year I got all festive and made adorable football brownie sandwiches – but this year I decided I just wanted something sweet and found some recipes for chocolate chip caramel cookies.
I opted for a simple chocolate chip caramel bar recipe and they definitely were a hit; almost the whole pan was gobbled up immediately! I can’t wait to make them again or try another variation of this recipe.
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, or 1/2 c of Egg Beaters ( I used Egg Beaters)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 13×7 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine melted (and cooled) butter,brown sugar and white sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on until melted and stop to stir about every 20-30 seconds. The whole process took about 2.5 minutes in the microwave for me.
Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough in the pan.
Spread remaining cookie dough over caramel layer. The caramel will be sticky, so I found it easy to divide remaining dough into four chunks, flatten chunk somewhat and place in each corner.
Bake cookie bars for 30-35 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown. Cool bars on a wire rack. Serve – and enjoy!
Last weekend, B and I went camping with a few friends. Each person was in charge of bringing a specific food item, and in addition to bringing lunch for Saturday, we were slated to also share in bringing dessert. In fact, next to desserts, the list read, “Snacks & Desserts – Everybody bring some, but I have high expectations for Melissa’s desserts.” Yipes! So the pressure was on. So not only did I bring the AMAZING cookie dough balls (which were a hit) – but also decided to bring some Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oreo cookie bars! Who doesn’t like peanut butter AND Oreos?
Recently, our office held our annual (alright, second year in a row) holiday cookie exchange! If you know me, you know that baking is one of my favorite pastimes. If you know me REALLY well, you know that cookie bars are what got me hooked on baking – not, as you may think, cupcakes. I used to bake all the time in high school and most often made chocolate chip cookie bars to bring in during our post 3rd period snack time. What, you didn’ t have snack time in high school? (it was actually officially called Mid-morning and was a 10-15 min break where people could buy bagels, breakfast, etc. but it’s much cooler to say “snack time” in my opinion. It was between 3rd and 4th period, unless of course 8 took 3rd then it was between 8th and 4th periods..make sense? Public schools rock.) Well, we did and nearly once a week when I wasn’t bringing in my Kashi for breakfast (again, yes, I was eating Kashi in high school – I was that cool) I was bringing in blondies for my friends.
Anyway, long story short, I fell in love with baking, and especially cookies and bars, and was excited to bake some awesome bars for our holiday cookie exchange. Ever since I spotted these bar online and pinned them, I’d been excited to bake them … AND even more excited to share what was an AWESOME* recipe with you!
*note: this recipe is so awesome, it may make your taste-testers cry. No joke, a coworker who shall remain nameless started crying (of joy, naturally) when she bit into her first taste of cookie.
My cookies: Apologies – the photo was taken before I chopped them into triangles. Snickers Cookie Bars … a.k.a. Chocolate Caramel Peanut Butter Blondies
1 bag of sugar cookie mix (I told you it was easy!)
1/2 cup butter
10 Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, chopped into small pieces
1/2 c. Peanut butter chips
For the middle layer:
36 caramels (I used Werther’s creamy caramels)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts
For the top layer:
Your favorite homemade chocolate frosting recipe (or store-bought and make it even easier)
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, lightly salted
Here’s what you’ll do:
For bottom layer:
In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in Reese’s and peanut butter chips. Try to refrain from eating all the Reese’s before chopping!
Press dough in bottom of greased (or in my case, sprayed with Pam) 13×9 cooking pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 350 or until light golden brown.
For middle layer:
While first-layer cookie is baking (or another day … I made my bottom portion ahead of time and made the other layers the next day) in 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and condensed milk over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted.
Stir in peanut butter. Heat to boiling. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup peanuts. Spread over warm cookie base with a heat-resistant spatula. Try to refrain from licking the spatula or you’ll burn your tongue (trust me, it may have happened!).
Cool completely, about 2-3 hours OR about 35 min in the freezer. I chose the freezer method.
For top layer:
While cooling, making the top frosting layer (or use your own store-bought chocolate frosting).
Spread frosting evenly over filling. Sprinkle with peanuts. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.
For bars, cut 9 rows by 4 rows. Then cut each bar on a diagonal, making cute bite-sized triangles.
Enjoy! Share with coworkers who will cry when they first bite into them.