Peanut Butter Buckeye Bars
Natalie of Good Girl Style is back today with the dessert you’ve been waiting for, albeit unconsciously. That’s because, deep down, you always want peanut butter and chocolate–together. Natalie joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just good old-fashioned butter, sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate. Don’t miss her recent summery posts, about Coffee Granita and Easy Mango Sorbet with Coconut Cream.
Oh, chocolate and peanut butter, how good you are. Sonnets and songs can be written about the flavor combination, and it’s one of my favorites in just about any form. This creamy, peanut buttery goodness is a mix between a buckeye and a REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup. If you’re familiar with buckeyes, the round peanut butter candy dipped in chocolate with an ‘eye’ left to show the candy (they’re modeled after the buckeye tree nuts), you’ll immediately understand the appeal of the candy in bar form. The trees themselves are generally found in the Midwest, particularly Ohio, but the candy is loved everywhere.
The thick layer of peanut butter generously coated with chocolate can get a bit sticky on hot summer days, so keep these in the cooler if you’ll be taking them along on a picnic. They cut best at room temperature–if they’re too cold when you cut, the chocolate later may crack and leave you with uneven pieces (though they’ll be just as delicious!). These are rich, so small squares are sufficient. Don’t be surprised if everyone goes back for seconds, though!
Peanut Butter Buckeye Bars
By Natalie Wise
Serves 20 to 24
Adapted from Southern Plate
One 16-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening (butter or vegetable shortening)
Place the peanut butter, butter, salt, powdered sugar, vanilla, and brown sugar in a large microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 30-second intervals until the peanut butter and butter are melted, about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave. Stir together well until the dough comes together and is smooth. Press into an 8-by-8-inch pan.
Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Stir until smooth. Pour on top of the peanut butter layer. Let harden at room temperature or in the fridge. Cut into squares.