Ultimate Candy Bars

Whether it's looking for something sweet to accompany that mid-afternoon cup of coffee, seal your dinner deal as dessert, or take to that party you've been looking forward to all week, sometimes you need a dessert that's simply more than cake or cookies. You want a candy bar without resorting to something wrapped in plastic and sold by the gas station register. And, just in time for the weekend, that's exactly what I'm offering to you.

These simple bars pack an intense calorie punch, so do yourself a favor and cut them small and treat them like the indulgence they are. That said, sometimes this is exactly what the doctor ordered. Well, maybe not the doctor, but perhaps the stressed adult within that's been looking for a special treat at the end of the week. But be prepared to share because these bars are bound to be very popular with kids and adults alike. Upon tasting these, my youngster asked, very politely, if I might make them again because they are "very good making." Have a great weekend and here's to finding something a little sweet at the end of the work week!

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. half and half
  • 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped and cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add the egg and milk and beat to combine. Put the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, and beat until the mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Press the dough into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and a little puffy. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips, half and half, and peanut butter in a large glass measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute on HIGH. Remove from the microwave and stir gently. Return to the microwave and cook in 30 second intervals, stirring after each session, until the mixture is entirely melted and stirred into a homogenous, creamy mixture. Carefully spread this evenly over the warm crust after you've removed it from the oven. Sprinkle the chopped peanut butter crusts over the melted chocolate mixture and allow the bars to cool completely before slicing into small servings. Store any remaining bars covered in the refrigerator.

  • Yields: 20-24 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes