Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars*

*not to be confused with Rhesus Peanut Butter Bars (now with 25% more macaque!)

One of the recent trends with Facebook that I don’t have a problem with is the posting and sharing of recipes. Personally, I don’t reshare them, but I do save a few of them. Often I’ll tweak a recipe or just use it for inspiration for something else I’m trying. In the case of the two Reese Peanut Butter Bar recipes I found (case? Like I’m a detective), I didn’t change them at all, I just made a half batch of each to see which one was better.

I wanted to credit the original websites where I found these recipes, but I could only locate one of them (mainly because the address is right on the picture I used for the recipe) after over 2 hours of looking. Then I got smart and used Google how I should have in the first place. BOOM! Had them both within minutes.

Here’s the first recipe, from The Girl Who Ate Everything (adapted from allrecipes.com):

Reese Bars (version 1)image

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions
In a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Spread melted chocolate over the crumb crust. Chill for about 5 minutes (mine needed a little longer because they were still gooey), then cut into bars before the chocolate is completely set, then chill until ready to serve.

These came together fairly quickly. I melted the butter in the microwave while I was measuring out the peanut butter and graham crumbs. I would say that from start to finish, including melting the chocolate chips and spreading them, took maybe 10 minutes tops. Like I said, I made a half batch of these. Doing the math took longer than putting the ingredients together. I really need to brush up on my fractions if I’m going to be doing this baking stuff. Smile

I used a 7”x7” aluminum foil cake pan instead of the 9×13. To ease in removal, I used a little cooking spray before I pressed the graham cracker/peanut butter mixture into the pan. I poured the melted chocolate chips over the top and spread them as evenly as I could manage with my tiny little rubber spatula. I considered making fancy little peaks and whirls in the chocolate, then I remembered that I’m just not that fancy. Into the fridge it went.

Version 1 pictures:

2013-07-01 21.36.572013-07-01 21.38.202013-07-01 21.40.592013-07-01 21.42.05

The second recipe came from I Heart Nap Time (who found it in her Grandma’s recipe box):

Reese Bars (version 2)image

Ingredients
1 cup salted butter (melted)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 (11 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

Instructions

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl. Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Pour peanut butter mixture into a 9×13 pan.
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (at 50% power) for 1-2 minutes. Stir chocolate and pour over the peanut butter mixture. Spread chocolate with a spatula. To even out chocolate, tap pan on the counter.
Refrigerate bars for one hour. Cut while bars are still cool. Enjoy!
Yummy! These are so good! Enjoy!

There were a few more ingredients to this one, but it still came together nice a quickly. One thing I noticed about this recipe was that it wasn’t clumping together like the first one, but was much moister. Considering that it used a half cup less graham crumbs (or a 1/4 C in my half batch) and a cup less powdered sugar (again, 1/2 C for those of you playing along at home), it’s understandable that it was moister. I ended up sprinkling in an extra tablespoon or two of crumbs into the mixture to help it firm up a bit more.

I pressed the dough (Can I call it dough? Sure. Of course I can) into another lightly sprayed aluminum pan (I bought a 4 pack at No Frills for $2), spread the last cup of melted chocolate chips over the top and popped it into the fridge.

Version 2 pictures:

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I didn’t follow the instructions as fully as I probably should have and didn’t cut them into squares until after I had a nap. The chocolate had fully set and was nice and firm. Being milk chocolate though, it wasn’t too hard to cut. I’ve found other recipes for these online and they suggest melting a tablespoon of shortening or butter or even peanut butter in with the chocolate chips to keep things from getting too hard. They also called for semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I wanted to stick with the milk chocolate for something closer to real Reese peanut butter cups.

The first batch were a bit tricky to cut through. My first cut in the center snapped the whole thing in half before I even got halfway into it. This included the part where my knife didn’t reach. Going a bit more carefully, I sectioned it off into 16 roughly even sized squares. There were quite a few crumbs from this on the cutting board. A tasty chore to clean up. Smile

The second batch was much easier to cut. I don’t know if it was because I was being slightly more careful, or if it was because it had a few minutes to rest at room temperature while I was cutting up the first ones. I’m thinking it’s the latter.

My squares cut cleanly with barely, if any, crumbling. I could tell at this point that it was definitely a moister mix and was curious as to how that would affect the taste/texture. To that end, I employed my trusty taste tester, my roomie Allen, to compare the two bars and to give me his opinion.

The taste was pretty much the same between the two, with the big flavor ingredients (peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs) being almost the same measurements. In the end though, it came down to the texture. We both preferred the Version 1 batch because it was dryer. That being said, I found both batches to be a trifle too sweet.

Now comes the tweaking. Smile I’m going to rework the recipe to cut back on the sugar while maintaining the texture. That’s going to have to be at a later date though. There’s two pans of squares in the fridge right now that I’m not supposed to eat. I don’t need to add another. Heh.

Hmmm… I bet these would be great as peanut butter balls.

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