Gotta Have Peanut Butter and Chocolate? Bake Some Swirl Bars
The internet has gazillions of recipes for peanut butter-chocolate swirl bars, but this is one recipe that I've used to good effect--meaning I've scarfed down plenty of these things. The original recipe came from an old "Mr. Food" cookbook, but, like many other recipes, I've modified it (okay, kind of a lot). You make a peanut butter batter and sprinkle it with chocolate chips before baking it. After 5 minutes in the oven, you remove the pan from the oven, cut through the batter with a knife to swirl the chocolate, and then return the pan to the oven to finish baking the bars. The bars (unless you overcook them) come out soft, squishy, and loaded with the flavors of peanut butter and chocolate. This is a simple bar cookie that would be quite at home at a fancy party or on a napkin beside a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Think Reese's cups in bar cookie format. Yum....
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Swirl Bars -- Makes a 9 x 13-inch Pan
3/4 cup of peanut butter
5 tablespoons of butter or Smart or Earth Balance
3/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips (2 cups), preferably dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream the peanut butter, butter, and sugars together. I use a wooden spoon for this, so I don't have to wash the beaters of a mixer. Think of all the calories you'll burn by applying a little arm muscle (probably not many, but it won't hurt to try). Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the wet mixture and stir them in until everything is just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter. Put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and run a butter knife through the batter to swirl the chocolate through the batter. Put the pan back in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the bars are just done (slightly firm to the touch, but you should still be able to dent the top of the bars with a finger press). Let the bars cool completely if you want them to look nice when you cut them. If you don't care, cut them while they're warm and enjoy them, oozing chocolate and warm peanut smells. If the bars are too warm, you might also consider cooling them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream unless you're really a chocoholic, in which case, nestle some chocolate ice cream beside a warm swirl bar. Bliss! Happiness! Cure for a bad day! Celebrate a good day! Just because!