sunday sharing – peanut butter (cup) bars

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for my first sunday sharing post, i’m going with a recipe that’s been in my family since before i was born. these were always my (great-)auntie evie’s bars, but then my mom glommed onto the recipe and made it at our house all the time. i veganized the recipe almost 10 years ago, which also means i basically inherited the “making rights” for any and all family functions. we actually call them peanut butter bars, but because they involve a fair amount of chocolate and are reminiscent of peanut butter cups, i always feel like i want to say “peanut butter cup bars” when i’m first mentioning them to someone. i just did a search and i can’t find anywhere on this blog where i’ve ever shared the recipe before, which surprised me. i know i’ve shared it elsewhere (message boards and facebook), so maybe that’s why. anyhow, get ready for a no-bake recipe that is generally quite a crowd-pleaser!

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peanut butter bars

22 squares crushed graham crackers (or 11 “sheets” of the long rectangles, if you know what i mean)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick soft earth balance
1.5 cups peanut butter
12 oz. pkg. vegan chocolate chips

mix the crushed graham crackers with the powdered sugar (i usually smash the graham crackers with a rolling pin but you could probably do them in a food processor too… don’t “over-crush” them; just make sure most of them are pretty ground up but it’s okay if the texture varies a little bit).

add peanut butter & earth balance and mix together with hand mixer (get it so that it is all mixed nicely, but don’t “over-mix”).

press evenly with hands (pretty firmly) into 9×13 pan. put pan in fridge while doing next step.

melt chocolate chips in small saucepan on stove, stirring regularly. (this takes about 5 minutes. you can melt them in the microwave but they heat *very* quickly and can scorch from the inside out in an instant, which is completely disgusting and makes it smell like the house is on fire. or so i’ve heard.)

pour melted chocolate evenly over peanut butter mixture and spread gently over entire pan with wooden spoon or spatula. put back into fridge.

keep an eye on them; within probably about 30 minutes the chocolate will go from shiny to dull. once it is dull, cut them with a sharp knife (at this point the chocolate will be “set” but not too hard to cut) and then put them right back in the fridge. keep refrigerated.

eat, eat, eat!!

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i will mention this just because i know some people like to do it this way: if you prefer to splash a little soymilk (or coconut oil?) in your chocolate as you’re melting it, then by all means don’t let me stop you! i’ve always just done the straight-up-chocolate route, and the one time i experimented with adding soymilk my chocolate seized up and it was an absolute nightmare (my fault, i’m sure), so i never bothered trying again. but if you want to do the add-in, it will probably make the spreading step a little easier and the chocolate a little softer. whatever floats your boat!

…and because no recipe post is complete without pictures, i took a few for you last weekend. i have no idea why, but apparently i think i work for zappos, so  here is an aerial view and a side view for you. what a dork.

peanut butter bars

peanut butter bars

you can, of course, cut your peanut butter bars into whatever size you choose, but i tend to go small because: (a) they’re pretty sweet/rich, (b) you can feed more people that way, and (c) that way i can eat a whole bunch myself without feeling as guilty. ha!

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