peanut butter and chocolate. really, what can possibly get better? this combination’s worked magic in my life as long as i can remember. i think i have taste buds specifically designed for delighting in, salivating over, savoring my grandma meyer’s peanut butter bars: so densely peanuty, blanketed in a crisp, substantial layer of bittersweet chocolate. her cookies are infamous in my dad’s family. i know the lore of old, of when he and my uncle kevin ate an entire pan of these cookies in one sitting on a visit to blair, nebraska many years ago. i don’t think i can have peanut butter bars without a blossoming feeling of lovely nostalgia. the smell, the memories, and the taste!
today, i have been in snack-mode gwen-mode. this is a dangerous state, no question about it. there’s been ice cream (a small dip, i knew what was coming…), frozen yogurt (tangy, have you tried this? the un-sweetened stuff?! SO EXCITING, this is what i knew was coming…), fruit, nuts, granola bars, carrots, salsa, eggs, popcorn, fig cookies, strawberries, cereal… this is just a taste of my ridiculous list, dear friends.
but, what was i really craving? you guessed it. grandma meyer’s peanut butter bars. but, i didn’t know that was what i was craving. i didn’t have the recipe. fortunately, after a two-day hiatus from greenhouse and farm work that involved a lovely trip to my nanny and poppy’s, i checked up on my oh-so-favorite blogs. and the kitchen sink recipes gave me access to the inspiration i really needed. not only did ms. kitchen sink inspire me, her recipe is adopted from another of my favorite blogs, 101 cookbooks. clearly, the peanut butter and chocolate gods were conspiring for peanut butter and chocolate somethings to come out of the oven at la grande.
i give you my own rendition. thanks to the inspired baking of my grandma meyer and two of my favorite blogs. pb&c. oh, how exquisite. the result: lighter than grandma meyer’s, rich, satisfying, and basically fantastic.
*delightful to make while listening to sara watson or a bluegrass mix. makes the baking knee-slapping and danceable!
pb&c: peanut butter & chocolate bars
adapted from the kitchen sink recipes’ chocolate-covered peanut butter bars
1 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup graham flour
3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup natural, smooth peanut butter
1 cup maple syrup (i was a little short, so compensated approximately 2 tablespoons pure cane syrup that’s been in my fridge since a friend brought it from florida last year)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
less than 8 ounces combination semi and bitter sweet chocolate bars, chopped
1. preheat oven to 350. grease an 8 inch square pan, line with parchment paper with overhanging flaps, and grease paper. (i actually did this because of the memory of crumbly peanut butter bars per grandma meyer. crumbles still = deliciousness, but thought i’d try with the parchment paper).
2. in a mixing bowl, combine flours, baking soda, and sea salt.
3. in a larger mixing bowl, whisk together peanut butter, syrup, oil, and vanilla extract.
4. pour flour on top of peanut butter mix, stir until barely combined, even a bit dusty looking. then let sit for five minutes, give another stir through.
5. press batter into greased and parchment-ed pan, place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until bars begin to brown and edges are set.
6. as soon as pan’s removed from oven, set on a cooling rack and sprinkle chocolate shavings over bars. as they melt, spread with a butter knife or small spatula. i didn’t use all eight ounces i chopped.
7. allow to cool completely. then, using parchment flaps, pull bars out and slice with a sharp knife.
enjoy your pb&c!