by Stephanie Zonis
Makes 36 or 48 bars
Great Halloween treats! If you have young'uns, they can help you make these, which are no trouble at all. Few ingredients, simple instructions, a popular (and great) combination of flavors, and a crunchy/crumbly texture. I like to use chunky peanut butter here, but of course you can substitute creamy if you wish. You can also use milk chocolate in place of the semisweet chocolate called for in the Topping; I use semisweet because it gives a somewhat stronger chocolate flavor.
These must stand at room temperature for about an hour before they are cut. If you cut them when they are cold, they will fall apart. I prefer to cut these into small bars, as they are deceptively rich. The bars will keep nicely in the fridge (if stored airtight) for up to five days, and they freeze for longer storage (defrost in the refrigerator, still in their wrappings).
2 cups confectioners' sugar (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use good-quality chips)
1 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening
Line an 8-inch square pan (at least 1-1/2 inches deep) with two sheets of regular aluminum foil, one on top of the other, smoothing out as many creases as possible. The foil should overhang the pan on at least two sides. Fold any overhang back against the outer edges of the pan.
In large bowl, combine confectioners' sugar and graham cracker crumbs. with hand-held electric mixer on lowest speed (or use a large spoon), mix well (if you use a spoon, press out any lumps with the back of it). Add peanut butter, but do not stir.
In small saucepan over very low heat, melt butter, stirring often. Do not let the butter get hot! Keep it on the heat until it's almost melted, then remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Pour into graham cracker mixture. with mixer at low speed (or with large spoon), blend thoroughly until all ingredients are combined. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. When ingredients are well-blended, stir in chips until evenly distributed (use a spoon to stir in the chips).
Turn mixture into lined pan. Using the back of a spoon, spread as evenly as possible. Set aside at room temperature while Topping is prepared.
In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate and vegetable shortening. Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir often, until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour onto peanut butter mixture in pan. with back of a teaspoon, spread as evenly as possible over top. Place in refrigerator; chill at least 2 hours, covering tightly when cold.
These must stand at room temperature for about an hour before you cut them; if you try to cut them when they're cold, they'll fall apart. Remove the uncut bars, still in foil, from the pan. Place on a cutting board; gently peel back foil from sides. Allow to stand for about one hour. You'll need a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife for cutting. Using the tip of the knife, heavily score the chocolate topping several times where you want to make the cuts (I make 36 or 48 bars out of one pan). Once you've done so, go back, and cut the bars along the scored lines.
Store the bars airtight in the refrigerator, or freeze them.
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This page originally created in 1998 and modified October 2007
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