Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Way to Use Up that Crunchy PB in your Cupboard: Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars!

If you are like me, you like the idea of crunchy peanut butter, but you don't always enjoy eating it. So it sits in your cupboard for years before you finally throw the jar out. I have found a great way to use up your crunchy peanut butter. And once you taste this recipe, you might just run out and buy another jar!

These chocolate bars absolutely melt in your mouth and have just a little crunch from the peanut pieces in the peanut butter.  If you like a bit more crunch, add the optional Rice Krispies and make it a bark. And if you really want to make the bark special, check out this post on how to add a fun pattern to one side of the bark.

Recipe: Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 You need:
  • 130 grams of crunchy peanut butter, heated to about 97 degrees F.
  • 227 grams (8 ounces) of semi-sweet chocolate
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of brown rice crisped cereal (oh what the heck, let's just call it Brown Rice Rice Krispies).


1. Prepare your ingredients and tools: Pour your peanut butter into a microwavable bowl. Chop your chocolate and place in a stainless steel or glass bowl (use only glass or plastic if using the microwave, not a double boiler). Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and set aside. If you want to make designs in your bars, such as hearts or swirls, follow the steps at the bottom of this recipe.

2. Melt and temper your chocolate. Place your bowl of chocolate over a double boiler (1 inch of steaming water in a pot) and stir the chocolate until just melted. Heat slightly more until it reaches 120 degrees F. Then quickly reduce the temperature by placing it over a bowl of ice or ice water until it reaches about 88 degrees.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET EVEN A SINGLE DROP OF WATER IN THE CHOCOLATE. Use a paper towel to wipe the bottom of the bowl and your hands if necessary. Set aside on the counter. (For more thorough tempering instructions, click here).

If you prefer not to temper the chocolate over a double boiler or if you do not have a digital thermometer for candy/chocolate, you can microwave it on half power for 2 minutes and stir until smooth, but do not overheat.  If it won't melt completely, microwave for just 5 second intervals and stir just until smooth. Dip your baby finger in it.  If it feels like the same temperature as your baby finger, it is okay to use.  If it is warmer than your finger, stir it until smooth with the bowl resting on a bag of frozen peas, and ice pack or frozen fruit until it feels cool (careful not to let it harden though!).

3. Warm your peanut butter and add it to the chocolate. To warm your peanut butter into a heatproof bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds, just until it reaches 97 degrees F. Pour it into the tempered chocolate and stir.  Add the Rice Krispies, if using. Place the bowl over the ice bath and stir until the mixture cools, reaching just above room temperature (about 75-80 degrees F, but if it starts to harden move the next step immediately!).

4. Pour the mixture onto the waxed paper and spread around quickly with your spoon or a long, flat offset spatula. Let it set on the counter for 10-15 minutes until thickened.

6. Using a straight-edged knife, cut the chocolate into bars or rectangular bark pieces. Place in an airtight container to store (for up to 2 months).

Make it for your Valentine! Place any cookie cutter shape on waxed paper and pour the warm mixture in. 
Let set in the microwave for 10-15  minutes,
then push out of the cookie cutter.