Sunday, November 7, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Bars

With the amazing amount of peanut butter recipes that I come across in my blog perusing, I'm guessing that much of the world loves the PB/Chocolate combo as much as I do.  Needless to say, when Fine Cooking delivered Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Bars to my inbox yesterday an immediate craving set in.  

Filled with pantry friendly ingredients the bars are easy to make without much forethought.  Peanut Butter, flour, sugar, butter, chocolate... what could be easier?  A crunchy shortbread crust is layered with sweetened peanut butter and spread with a luscious chocolate ganache to finish off the ensemble.  Chilled to set, the bars are ready to eat in about an hour spreading smiles across everyone's face.

After forgetting our bars in the freezer I put them on the counter to thaw this morning and headed out for a few errands.  Returning home (not having taken any photos) I found a smiling Daddy and son munching away saying, "You weren't saving these for anything special, were you??"  Luckily, no... a Sunday afternoon treat, just for us that worked its magic.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Adapted from Nicole Reese, Fine Cooking,  December 2006

For the crust:
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp table salt
9-1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour

Tip: For the best results, measure your flour by weight instead of volume. (1 cup of all-purpose flour equals 4-1/2 oz.) If you don’t have a scale, be sure to use the proper technique when filling your measuring cups.
For the peanut butter filling:
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural but an emulsified variety such as Jif)
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz. (1-1/2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the ganache:
5 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Make the peanut shortbread:

Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
Bake the dough for 20 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 300°F and bake until the crust is golden-brown all over and completely set, 20 to 25 more minutes. Let the crust cool completely before topping.
Make the peanut butter filling: Put the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add about half of the confectioners’ sugar to the mixer along with the vanilla extract and 1 Tbs. hot water. Beat on low speed until combined, then on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 more minute. Beat in the remaining sugar and mix, about 1 more minute, until the mixture is smooth and thick, like frosting. If the filling seems too stiff, add another 1 Tbs. hot water and beat for another minute.

With a knife or metal offset spatula, spread the filling over the fully cooled crust. The filling may not spread smoothly and evenly, but don’t worry; the ganache will cover it.
Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a small heat proof  bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until combined and smooth.

Spread the ganache over the peanut-butter filling with a metal offset spatula to coat evenly. Let the bars sit at least 3 hours to allow the ganache to set before cutting (or refrigerate for 1 hour).

Carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-1/2-inch squares.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size: per bar; Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 13; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 50; Cholesterol (mg): 15; Fiber (g): 1;
From Fine Cooking 82, pp. 74
December 1, 2006
Remnants of the Father & Son Peanut Butter Bar Tasting!


  1. These look heavenly! Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven, and with the shortbread even more so! Great recipe!

  2. These look great. Anyone thought out their Thanksgiving desserts yet?

  3. So simple and delicious!! I think I might have a "fat day" this week and make these.. so good!!

  4. These sound delish and love the layered look. Nice work!

  5. Liv, these look fabulous. And who could resist chocolate and peanut butter. These would disappear quickly in our house.

  6. I can understand why big boys and small boys loved those bars. They look mouthwatering.

  7. You just combined 3 of my favorite things.. I have to try this immediately!

  8. This post makes me want to bake at 9am!

  9. These bars are wonderful, especially with peanut butter and chocolate. Such a heavenly combo!

  10. Those look so good! Peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven!

  11. I think I have died and gone to heaven! This is my idea of the perfect dessert!

  12. You're killing me with these, you know. Quite literally, my blood sugar is rising just looking at them! Oh my!

  13. Yes, you're right. Peanut butter and chocolate is a happy marriage. And you just proved it!

  14. I love peanut butter and chocolate, more than Nutella...seriously! So inviting, and so yummy!

  15. these look absolutly mouth watering!!!!! Thank you vfor sharing!

  16. Oh my lord, I am dying of excitement. This is going in the bookmarks.

  17. The bars look fantastic, but I Have to admit that what I see in my mind are your hubby and son munching away and that makes me smile. I'm glad there were some left for the picture taking because they're gorgeous.

  18. What I miss these while I was gone! These make me happy!

  19. This looks so good! Chocolate and peanut butter is always a great combimation, and love putting it on shortbread. I am definitely bookmarking this one:)

  20. Love the forgetting in freezer and then finding two guys already diving in. That's when you know you've made something really good. Saving this recipe. Looks like a Reese's cup bar, but better.

  21. The directions reference stirring peanuts into the shortbread cookie dough but peanuts are not listed in the ingredients. I assume they are chopped--what is an appropriate amount?


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