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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars: A Decadent Delight

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Chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven, and these Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are the perfect way to indulge in this classic combination. With layers of oat and peanut butter goodness topped with rich chocolate, these bars are sure to be a hit at any gathering or as a special treat for yourself. Let’s dive into this easy-to-make and utterly delicious recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Oat Mixture

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quick-cooking oats, light brown sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well to combine.
  3. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can use a pastry cutter or your fingers for this step.
  4. Stir in the beaten egg and mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Step 2: Assemble the Base

  1. Press two-thirds of the oat mixture into the bottom of a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Press firmly to create an even layer.
  2. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts evenly over the oat mixture.

Step 3: Create the Filling

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sweetened condensed milk and creamy peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Remove from heat.

Step 4: Add the Chocolate Layer

  1. Sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate chips evenly over the peanut layer in the baking pan.
  2. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate chips, spreading it evenly with a spatula.

Step 5: Top and Bake

  1. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the peanut butter layer, pressing it gently to adhere.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the edges are set.

Step 6: Cool and Serve

  1. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  2. Once cooled, cut into bars and serve. Enjoy the delightful combination of chocolate, peanut butter, and oats in every bite.

Tips and Variations

Tips

  • Cutting the Bars: For clean cuts, use a sharp knife and wipe it clean between each cut.
  • Storage: Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. You can also refrigerate them for a firmer texture.

Variations

  • Nut-Free Version: Substitute the chopped peanuts with sunflower seeds or omit them altogether for a nut-free version.
  • Extra Chocolate: For a more indulgent treat, add an extra layer of melted chocolate on top after baking.
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter: Use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy for added texture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats?

A: Yes, you can use old-fashioned oats, but the texture will be slightly different. Quick-cooking oats give a finer texture to the bars.

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Q: Can I use dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet?

A: Absolutely! Dark chocolate chips will add a deeper, richer flavor to the bars.

Q: How can I make these bars gluten-free?

A: To make the bars gluten-free, use gluten-free oats and a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.

Q: Can I freeze these bars?

A: Yes, these bars freeze well. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are a delicious and easy dessert that combines the best of both worlds: chocolate and peanut butter. With a perfect balance of chewy oats and creamy peanut butter, topped with rich chocolate, these bars are sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re making them for a special occasion or just to satisfy a sweet craving, this recipe is a guaranteed hit. Enjoy baking and indulging in these delightful bars