From scratch: no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars

Remember a while back when I wrote about three YouTube channels I like to watch when I’ve got time to spare? One of them is a food channel called Home Cooking Adventure produced by home cook Ella and her husband. I get glued watching her make her food because, aside from the excellent quality of the videos, she makes the procedures seem so easy that she makes even the most culinary-challenged novice feel they can pull a Remy.

Image via BuzzFeed.com

Well, I recently felt the need to try my hand  at a homemade dessert (okay, so I my sweet tooth was just acting up and I wanted an excuse to put two of my favorite things together) so I decided to try her no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog
Yeah, baby

Admittedly, I do kind of know my way around the kitchen, but trust me when I say that this recipe is so easy (four—count them—four ingredients, and no baking!), anyone can do it. Granted I did deviate a bit from her instructions, but they still turned out great, if I do say so myself.

What you need
For the base:
200g (7oz) crushed graham crackers or digestive biscuits
1/3 cup (70g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup (120g) peanut butter

For the chocolate topping:
200g (7oz) dark or bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup (60g) peanut butter, divided

All you'll need
All you’ll need

(If you’ll notice, the recipe doesn’t have sugar because the crackers or biscuits have enough sweetness to go around. But if you eat like a Christmas elf, you can use milk chocolate instead of bittersweet.)

Things you’ll be using:
Mixing bowl
Any square or rectangular container, preferably with a lid (you can use a baking pan)
Some extra butter
Parchment paper
Bain-marie (a bowl on a pot of hot water)
Spatula, big spoon,  measuring cups, teaspoon

Optional: food processor, if using whole crackers or biscuits (but you can smash them manually if you want)

What to do:
1. If using whole crackers or biscuits, toss them into the food processors and grind them to a fine consistency. You can also put them in a Ziploc and smash them with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin if you’d prefer. If using pre-crushed graham crackers, go to step 2.
2. Put the crushed graham crackers or digestive biscuits into a bowl and pour in the butter and peanut butter. Mix well until the entire pseudo-dough holds together. You can do this in a food processor if you want.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 2
Ready to come together: crushed graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, and melted butter
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 3
Mix well

3. Use a bit of butter to grease the inside of the container and line it with sheets of parchment paper. The sheets have to be big enough so that they hang over the sides of the container.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 4
For easier removal of chocolate-peanut-butter-y treat

4. Dump the mixture into the container and press it down firmly using the back of a spoon. Make sure you smooth the mixture to the corners and sides and that the surface is as flat and even as possible.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 5
Get into those sides and corners, too

5. Put some water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the stove off and place a tempered bowl on it containing the bittersweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons peanut butter. Melt the mixture completely.

Before...
Before…
...and after
…and after

6. Take  the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter and melt it either in a pot on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave (I went with the latter).
7. Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture into the container with the graham cracker base and spread it evenly on top, making sure they reach the sides and corners.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 8
Ready for the peanut butter drizzle

8. Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the chocolate and use a knife or toothpick to swirl it around and create a marbled look.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 9
Before the magic happens
It's all in the wrist
It’s all in the wrist

9. Put the lid on the container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to help it set. (You can also use cling wrap or foil to cover the container just to make sure the dessert is protected from any potential spills in the fridge)
10. Once the bars are set, take them out of the fridge, pull the now-set mixture out using the sides of the parchment paper and set it onto a chopping board. Wait about 10 minutes before you start cutting.

If you do everything well, you’ll end up with squares of joy that are quite hard to resist. I’ve only made them once, but everyone at home have been championing for me to make them again, even when we still have some in the fridge.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars EatPlayLog 11
Ready for consumption

The thickness of the bars will depend on the size of the pan you use; the smaller the pan, the thicker the bars. Just to give you an idea, I used a 7×7-inch square container and ended up with bars almost an inch thick. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I cut the entire slab into 16 pieces, and each bar was still very substantial for one person (though no one will blame you if you eat more than one).

You can use either crunchy or creamy peanut butter, but if you prefer creamy, go for the thick kind. I don’t know from personal experience how the dessert will turn out if you use runny peanut butter, but just to be on the safe side, choose Skippy or any other peanut butter that doesn’t spill even if you hold the jar upside down.

The money shot
One last look for inspiration?

Try the recipe out for yourself and your family and friends will love you (if they don’t already do). Hope you’re successful with this too.

All images, unless otherwise stated, belong to eatplaylog.wordpress.com. If you want to share them, please include credit and a linkback. Thanks.

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