Anyone who reads this blog knows how much I love chocolate and peanut butter. It is, hands down, my favorite dessert combination. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to combine the two ingredients, and a few more, that I have not yet tried.
I also love to use sweetened condensed milk in recipes. I know it’s not very good for you, health-wise, but it sure does make a dessert taste good.
Normally, before I start a recipe, I assemble all my ingredients but when I found this one on Amanda’s Cooking, I just glanced over the ingredients and knew I had everything in the pantry, so I just started making them, with little adaptations here and there. (First big mistake….)
The bars are sort of like a fancy, smancy peanut butter cup. In fact, the base and topping taste just like the center of a Reese’s cup.
I was going great guns, until I got to the chocolate layer. That is where the sweetened condensed milk part comes in. I went to the pantry to get a can of it and, lo and behold, there was none to be seen. “That can’t be,” I thought, “I always have at least 2 cans in here.” So I tore my pantry apart thinking it would just be on a different shelf, but nope. Not a can in sight.
What to do, what to do??? “Make your own Sweetened condensed milk” I thought.
I had a can of fat free evaporated skim milk, and know that is creamy and thicker than normal milk, and the “sweetened” part is a no brainer. So I dumped in 1 cup of the evaporated milk with 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar and cooked it until the sugar melted. It looked about right so I went on with my recipe.
I added the chocolate chips and peanut butter to my concoction and it did not quite seem as though it was as thick as sweetened condensed milk should be, so I dumped in 1/3 cups of peanut butter/chocolate chips and it seemed perfect.
Other than this little detour, which you would not have if you check the ingredients, like I did not, the bars are easy. Just a layer of the base mix, topped with the filling and the remainder of the base mix crumbled on top.
Even thought the chocolate filling was not as thick as if I had used normal sweetened condensed milk, with all this chocolate oozing, who cares? I just stored them in the fridge and they were fine!
So delicious, and shall I say easy? LOL. Well maybe next time they will be!
- For the base and topping:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
- 1½ cups packed brown sugar (I ran out of dark brown after ¾ cup, so I used both dark and light mixed.)
- 2 eggs (I use free range eggs)
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk ( or 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1⅓ cups of sugar if you do what I did.)
- ⅓ cups of peanut butter/chocolate chips
- 1½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup miniature chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13x9 baking pan with aluminum foil, and spray the foil with Pam buttery cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add in the brown sugar and beat until it is well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until they are well combined.
- Add 2 cups of creamy peanut butter and 2 tsp of vanilla; beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Turn the mixer down to low and gradually add in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until it is completely combined and dough comes together. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to get all the flour mixed.
- To make the filling, heat the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, peanut butter/chocolate chips, and 2 tbsp peanut butter, stirring occasionally, in a heavy saucepan over low heat until the mixture has melted and and is creamy. Remove from heat and add the 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Let it cool slightly.
- Measure out 2 cups of the peanut butter dough and set it aside to use for the topping.
- Press the remaining dough into the prepared pan. Spread the chocolate filing over the dough. Crumble the reserved dough over the top of the filling. Finally, sprinkle with the miniature chocolate chips.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is light golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Remove the bars from the pan, using the foil as handles. Place it on a cutting board and allow to cool completely. Cut into bars.