Monday, December 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Bars and Cups

I love to bake but I don't necessarily like having baked goods around the house, so I look for any excuse to bake.  Christmas is one of my greatest baking excuses!  If your budget is tight and you're not able to afford to buy gifts, food and baked goods are always great, inexpensive gifts!  You can find different suggestions for ways to  package food as gifts here.

One of my favorite flavor combinations is peanut butter and chocolate, which is one reason I absolutely love these peanut butter bars!

Peanut Butter Bars
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup peanut butter
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and melted butter.  At this point, I tasted my mixture and decided to add a little more peanut butter.  This is a taste preference, so you can add as much peanut butter as you like at this point.

Spread peanut butter mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave and spread over peanut butter.  Cool until chocolate hardens; cut into squares.  If desired, melt white chocolate chips with a little peanut butter and drizzle over the top of the squares. 

To make peanut butter cups: Place liners in a mini muffin pan.  Roll peanut butter mixture into small balls.  Place a enough chocolate in each liner to cover the bottom (about 1/4-inch deep).  Lightly push one peanut butter ball into the chocolate of each liner, being careful not to push it all the way through to the bottom.

Cover each ball with chocolate, being sure to fill the sides of each liner with chocolate as well.  You can either spoon the chocolate into the liners or put the melted chocolate in a zip top bag, cut a hole in the corner of the bag, and pipe it into the liner.  Allow to cool.

**UPDATE** To make cutting them easier, cut before the chocolate hardens completely.  You want the chocolate somewhat set, but not completely set.


Jen said...

Oooh! I think this might be the recipe I learned in a home ec class at WCCA. I *loved* it and then lost the recipe in college. I tried a few recipes on-line but none were quite right. This reminded me that graham crackers might be the secret ingredient I'm missing.

I'm going to have to give it a try this week. My father-in-law always gets a box of goodies for Christmas, and these might make the cut. :) Not only are treats inexpensive, but they're great for people who don't want more "stuff."

StaceyN said...

Wow, those look delicious and beautiful. I have never made them before, but I think I would like to give them a try. They're so pretty!

We like to give food gifts, too, especially since the kids can take part in making them. This year, we are giving gift baskets (ala Dollar store) filled with homemade scone mix, homemade chai late mix and some strawberry jam from our garden berries that I froze this summer. I am buying as much of the ingredients as I can from the bulk bins, so I don't think it will be all that expensive... I hope. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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