We’ve been back in Seattle for two years. And we are so glad to be back – as a whole. But every once in awhile I miss the life we had in Philly. We lived downtown, walking distance from fabulous restaurants and shopping (good and bad), we had great take-out/delivery options (the Indian food was to die for) so crazy days didn't always mean pizza nights, AND we had some really, really great bakeries. I suppose you think that would mean in the sense of buttery French croissants, or rich brioche. And, yes, we had that. But one of my favorite places was this homey, Amish-style bakery that made over-the-top apple crumble pies, big, gooey cinnamon rolls and these incredible, incredible, chocolate peanut butter bars.
I realize this sounds ho-hum from the title. But, these were anything but. They had the most wonderful soft peanut butter base and almost fudgy-ganache style topping – seriously like nothing I’ve ever had. Tygh, who likes desserts but can take or leave most, would house this thing upon my placing it on a plate.
I have looked for recipes over the years, online and in cookbooks, that would replicate these babies. Of course, I asked the bakery for a hint, but they weren’t telling. So, needless to say, I have been perseverating over the recipe possibilities since.
Now, finally, after many years and multiple attempts and iterations, I think I have finally come up with something very close to that Philly bakery recipe. Its very peanut-buttery with a rich, dark chocolate topping. It's not quite a bar, more like a peanut butter chocolate torte in bar form. A more elegant peanut butter cup, if you will. Of course, during my many trials and errors, a few of my more bar-like creations stood out to Tygh for their "crunchiness." So, I'm including a more classic PB bar recipe, too. Try them both and see with you like best!
PS. Excuse the pics - my lovely camera is broken, so my iPhone did all the work this time!
Philadelphia Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Grease an 8x8” baking pan or a pie plate.
1/2 C (70 g) very finely ground graham crackers* (the finer the better – I used my Vitamix dry blade!!)
½ C (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 C (8 oz) smooth peanut butter (not natural style)
1 C (120 g) powdered sugar
4 oz good quality chocolate, semisweet or dark, chopped into small pieces
1 T light corn syrup
1/2 C (4 oz) heavy cream
¼ t vanilla extract
For base, mix together all ingredients and pour into prepared pan. Chill until set, at least 1 hour.
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream and corn syrup in small pan, just to a simmer. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Let cool 5 minutes.
Pour cooled ganache over chilled base and put back in fridge. Let chill until firm, about one hour. Cut into bars while cold, but serve at room temp!
Classic Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Grease or foil and grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.
1/2 C (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 C graham cracker crumbs*(more coarse than above recipe)
1 C (120 g) powdered sugar
3/4 C (6 oz) smooth peanut butter
1/4 t salt
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces.
2 T peanut butter
Combine the first four ingredients, mixing well. Spread into prepared dish and refrigerate about an hour. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and mix in peanut butter. Spread onto base and chill until firm. Cut into bars. Let sit at room temp for a bit before serving!
* If need to make these gluten free, can sub in GF graham crackers!