Sunday, July 26, 2009

Golden Peanut Butter Bars

As an adult... my love for peanut butter has grown. It's more than just a love... it's actually turned into something like an addiction. In the past I've always enjoyed peanut butter flavored things... or things with peanut butter and chocolate. But, I'd never been one to really enjoy peanut butter on it's on.

Until now. I sometimes find myself sitting on the couch with a spoon and the jar of peanut butter in my hand. After mindlessly shoveling 800 calories worth of peanut butter into my mouth... I realize... ummm... I don't remember going into the kitchen and getting the jar of peanut butter. But that's what peanut butter does to me, now. It's so salty and creamy and it just puts me into this trance-like state. It's dangerous. But, it's damn good.

I've had this recipe for awhile now. But, I've been choosing to eat the peanut butter in it's purest state to feed my addiction. I didn't want to compromise it's goodness by putting into a recipe with other inferior ingredients. But... I needed something to take to a pot luck with a bunch of runners and I knew that they would likely share my love of peanut butter, too.

The thing that drew me to this specific recipe... (besides the peanut butter) is the fact that it has sweetened condensed milk. I mean, let's be honest here, friends: have you ever made something that has sweetened condensed milk in it that has turned out bad? I think not. Sweetened Condensed Milk is the savior of all things baked. It can turn anything into delicious-ness.

Ever cracked open a can of Sweetened Condensed Milk and ate the whole thing by dipping graham crackers into it... and then eventually you run out of graham crackers and just go for it with your finger? Oh. No? Well, me either... but I've heard of other people doing that.

This is a good recipe. It's chewy and peanut buttery and delicious. I hate to say it, but... I actually think it would be made better with some chocolate chips sprinkled underneath the crumb topping (or... wait for it... white chocolate chips. Yum!). There is just something about baked peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk that screams out for melty chocolatey goodness.

Golden Peanut Butter Bars
recipe from Jif

This recipe is super easy and quick. The only change I made to the recipe is that I used all white whole wheat flour. This made for a more nutty (almost bitter) flavor in the aftertaste and next time I think I'd use one cup of white whole wheat flour and one cup of regular flour. I Also skipped the peanuts (just because I didn't have any).

2 cups of AP flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, brown sugar and egg; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in peanuts. Reserving 2 cups of crumb mixture for the topping, press remaining mixture on bottom of 13x9 inch pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In large bowl, with mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk with peanut butter and vanilla. Spread over the prepared crust; top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake 25 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars. Store leftovers covered at room temperature.