Friday, August 9, 2013

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, & Reese's Cookie Bars

Oh peanut butter, words just can't describe the deep and abiding love I hold for you.  I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said that before I got pregnant I ate 1/2 of a PB & J on whole wheat bread for breakfast 95% of the time.  To me, peanut butter is one of the most perfect foods.  How may you ask can you improve on perfection?  Simple of course, add chocolate.

So during my first 17 weeks of pregnancy food was not my friend and as a result peanut butter and I took somewhat of a break.  Even now, breakfast is still tough for me so yogurt has become my new morning standard.  That being said, my love for peanut butter stays true.  Imagine my chagrin when I realized that in just over a month I will have to give peanut butter up for the remainder of my pregnancy at my allergist's recommendation.  With that realization came a renewed determination to fill my days with peanut butter.

About a month ago I saw the Reese's minis at Target and knew that I needed to have them but I didn't really have a plan for them.  Today, inspiration struck.  I wanted cookies but frankly I was too impatient and lazy to take the time to make individual cookies so I decided on cookie bars.  

I started with my old standby peanut butter cookie recipe from the red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I left out the baking powder, added some more vanilla, and then stirred in some chocolate chips and Reese's minis.  *Some might be a relative term.  The sad part is that as I was devouring eating these I thought to myself "hmm, these would be even better with more chocolate chips".  I have no shame.

Then I pressed that delicious dough (well it smelled delicious, darn pregnancy and the prohibition on raw dough) into a square pan and baked it up.

After waiting a torturous 30 minutes for them to cool/firm up I finally cut in.  You will not be disappointed.  The peanut butter flavor is nice and pronounced and the chocolate and Reese's just take them over the top.  I highly recommend eating these with a nice cold glass of milk.   Yum!

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, & Reese's Cookie Bars
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used JIF, I can't attest to how these will turn out with natural peanut butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Reese's minis
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet but dark or milk would be great too)
  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in stand mixer (or use a bowl and hand mixer if you don't have one) on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sugars and baking soda and beat until combined, scraping the bowl if needed.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  5. Beat in the flour. (I did it 1/2 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/4 cup so it wasn't just all dumped in at once which can lead to a big mess.)
  6. Scrape the bowl and give it one more mix by hand, then stir in the Reese's minis and chocolate chips.
  7. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray and press the dough into the pan.
  8. Bake at 375 for about 22 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean (assuming you don't hit some of that amazing chocolate).  Let cool about 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
*I wanted them nice and thick but if you prefer your bars a little bit thinner, you could make these in a 9 x 13 instead.  Just reduce the baking time.  I would probably check them at about 15 minutes.
I'm linking up with Tatertots & Jello for the Link Party Palooza