Now that I'm finished with school, I'm heading back into the kitchen. How wonderful that the holidays give me an excuse to bake some wonderful treats. Here's one that Alex and I baked last night that is absolutely decadent and delicious. When Alex took his first bite, he could only say, "Oh my God. Try this." And so I did. The chocolate was luscious and blended beautifully with the peanut butter. The nuts add just the right amount of crunch.
I've modified the recipe a tiny bit from the Better Homes and Garden's Christmas Cookie recipe. Instead of adding honey roasted peanuts and honey roasted peanut butter, I just used Skippy's Reduced Fat Super Crunch.
1 2-layer devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup honey-roasted peanut butter OR Super Crunch peanut butter.
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk
3/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 11.5 oz. package milk chocolate pieces (Ghiradelli's is my favorite.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the pan edges. Lightly grease foil. Set aside.
2. In an extra-large bowl, combine dry cake mix, 1/3 cup melted butter, and egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture is combined. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
3. In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup softened butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in 2 tablespoons of whipping cream. Stir in the chopped nuts (if adding separately). Spread mixture evenly over cooked crust. Place uncut bars in the refrigerator while preparing the chocolate ganache.
4. For the ganache, in a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup whipping cream to just boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate pieces. Do not stir. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes. Very gently pour ganache over uncut bars, lightly spreading it to the edges of the bars with a spatula. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours or until set. Using the edges of the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into bars. Makes 48 bars.
To Store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in a refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw bars, if frozen. Let refrigerator bars stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies. December 2009. Page 33.