Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Bars

It was a good weekend in just about every way (the exception being the weather, by turns downpour and muggy overcast). On Saturday we went out to look at houses and actually saw one that we like quite a bit, was in our price range, and was in pretty decent shape. We're not sure yet what we're going to do about it, but the existence of one such prospect makes us feel better about the whole endeavor.

On Sunday there was the usual cleaning and errands to be done, and in the afternoon I got to spend some time baking. I made D an apple pie, something I do every three years or so. I don't have much of the normal fear of piecrust, but I don't really care for pie most of the time, so he ends up having to eat the whole thing. I use a Mrs. Fields recipe, and previously it's turned out all right, but this weekend the filling failed to thicken. Not sure if it was the apples I used or some other error, or just one of those things. It did look awesome, though:

While the crust was chilling, I threw together these bars, which are one of my favorite things to make. They're basically Toll House cookies with some of the butter replaced by peanut butter, baked in a pan; what's not to love?

1 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup commercial smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temp
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an 11x7 baking pan with butter or vegetable oil.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium-size bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter, peanut butter, both sugars, and the vanilla until light and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on medium speed until partially blended after each, about 10 seconds. After the second, beat until blended, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix with a spatula until the flour is absorbed. Then mix on low speed until blended, 7-10 seconds. Scrape the bowl.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and blend for several seconds. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake the bars on the center oven rake until the edges are deep golden and the center is lightly golden and slightly puffy, 25-30 minutes. The center will drop when the bars are taken out of the oven, creating a chewy texture. Cut the bars into squares after they have cooled a bit on a rack.

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