Friday, November 14, 2008

Delightful Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

I have made this dessert before with tremendous success. It was sinfully yummy!

There was a “Chili Cook-off” at my office & they were looking side dishes & desserts. The best one got a prize. I thought to myself, what kind of dessert goes good with chili – MY PEANUT BUTTER BARS!!! I had the winning recipe. . .

. . .if only it came out as good as the first time I made it.

The first time I made it, I a single batch and was gobbled up pretty quickly. The dough also fit quite nicely in my average size bar pan. Note: this pan fits in our top oven. Since I was making a dessert for a lot more people, I decided to make a double batch. I had to pull out the BIG bar pan – this sucker is 20 inches long. Note: this pan does NOT fit in the top oven. I cranked on the lower oven, which is bigger and uses more energy to heat up, but it allows more airflow around baked goods so it does a better job overall because you don’t have to up the baking time.

I pulled the cooled cookie dough out of the fridge. It was a little clumpy (should have been my first clue that disaster was going to ensue) and I had to really work it into the pan with my fingers so that it didn’t have any gaps. I ultimately had to use a pizza roller to spread it out into the pan.

I remembered that the last time I made this scrumptious dessert I had to bake the cookie part 17 or 18 minutes; right in the middle of the 15 – 20 minute range. So that’s how long I baked it. After it was finished baking you need to spread some melted peanut butter on top, add a layer of marshmallows, and drizzle on some chocolate syrup. I didn’t have any syrup, but I figured I could add it later.

I tossed it back in the oven sans syrup for another five minutes (per the recipe). After five minutes, the marshmallows were puffy, but most of them hadn’t gotten that nice caramelized color – just a little on the ones in the back. They went back in the oven for another couple of minutes. Still there wasn’t much color.

I was concerned about over-baking (which the recipe specifically tells you not to do) so I pulled it out anyway. It was too late. Four paragraphs ago, I mentioned not having to up the time in the big oven. Hmmmm, yah, forgot about that point. I should have started at 15 minutes and only done the five minute marshmallow thing. The edges looked pretty crusty. Actually, that may have happened no matter what I did considering the consistency of the dough when I put it in the oven.

I muttered something about not having a Crème Brule torch to brown the rest of the marshmallows. Hubby’s eyes lit up. I though he was thinking about the soldering torch he had and about fainted at the thought of that flame hitting a dessert I was bringing to work and seeking a prize!!! He was actually thinking about one of the lighters we had. It’s one of those refillable ones that acts like a mini torch. It was sort of like a Crème Brule torch and I gave him the go ahead.

It didn’t light at first, but finally the pffffffffffffff sound was emitted and Hubby started waving the lighter over the pan. Continuous movement was not working so he started concentrating on smaller areas and lit one of the marshmallows on fire!!! I made him stop, deciding I didn’t want to burn down the house (it was a sizable pan and could have made quite a bonfire in the kitchen) or least of all, present some blackened peanut butter coal to my co-workers.

Before cutting it and putting it on a tray to bring into work, my peanut butter bars had to cool. I was going to a Mary Kay party at my friend Mary’s anyway so I could take care of the “presentation” after I got home. This also gave me an excuse to ask for someone to give me some chocolate syrup.

After the party and at least two glasses of wine (she lives within walking distance so I was not drinking & driving), I was going to add the syrup & cut up the bars.

I added way too much syrup and decided to mop it up with some paper towels. Here’s a tip: Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup does not “mop”, it smears. I guess that took care of anyone noticing the marshmallows were not caramelized. It also hid that burnt marshmallow quite nicely. Ten paper towels later, I was ready to cut.

Now this pan is expensive & Hubby would kill me if I used a knife in it. I used a spatula to cut the first row out & move it to a cutting board. It was C-R-U-N-C-H-Y! The marshmallows were super sticky too. I should have cut the edges off because you could have broken a tooth on them, but I didn’t think of that until after I cut it all up. By then the pieces would have ended up too small to matter so I left them. I easily moved the remaining bar from the pan (because the cookie part was so hard) and proceeded to cut it into squares.

As I was cutting, the marshmallow top started to peel away from the cookie base. I set the “tops” back on and placed them on my tray, covered everything with saran wrap and then had a revelation – the marshmallow was going to stick to the saran wrap! It was too late – I would deal with it before the cook-off.

In the lunchroom, well before the cook-off, I carefully pulled the saran wrap off. It took my fifteen frickin’ minutes as I was gently pealing the marshmallow from the saran wrap and then placing the marshmallow back on top of the cookie – every single one of them.

As I watched my co-workers eat them, everyone would take a bite and the entire marshmallow top came with the first bite - that sticky marshmallow wouldn’t give up to a set of choppers for anything. It was embarrassing.

Needless to say, no one asked for the recipe nor did I win a prize. Phooey!

Silver lining:
1. There weren’t any bars to bring home so it wasn’t a total loss.
2. I may not be expected to ever bring home-made anything into the office again. Everyone will be relieved when I bring in store bought stuff.

4 People Laughed Along With Me, Won't You?:

Rob said...

Oh no you don't - you're not giving up on 'em that easily. That first batch was way too good. I would say you could practice and refine your technique on batches for home consumption, but there's no way I need a whole batch of them sitting (not for long, of course) around the house. So, you need to make them for other people so I can sample and approve them for you.

Anonymous said...

You should have made your FAMOUS chocolate chip cookies :-) Those are the BOMB and you don't have to do anything but cook them....hehehehehe. As long as we try our best, and we don't succeed...then that means we must try again- RIGHT!!!

Love ~ Your baby sister

Christina said...

I'll get you my Cassata alla Siciliana recipe, it's a garanteed crowd pleaser.


Anonymous said...

Actually, I'd love to have the recipe...I thought they tasted great. I just forgot to ask you at the chili cook-off and figured I'd see you at the Bible study on Thursday so I could ask for it then. But I promise I won't try to make them in a competition against you. :) Oohey Gooey Butter Cupcakes are my speciality. :) - Ali D.

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