Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Bars

I have a fondness for peanut butter and chocolate. They both hold a special place in my heart…and stomach…and my thighs…eek!  So when I signed up to bring a dessert to a BBQ we were planning on attending today, I baked a batch of these cream cheese peanut butter squares.

Luckily, the rain stopped and held out for the entire afternoon so we were able to sit outside and visit a little…after the hockey game was over of course. Go Canucks! Oh wait, who am I kidding…I could care less about hockey..hehe

Anywho…here’s the recipe for anyone who would like to try a mouthful of soft peanut butter cookie,with chocolate and fluffy peanut butter filling. This is a revised Betty Crocker recipe that I’ve altered to my liking. The original recipe calls for a package of store-bought peanut butter cookie dough mix, which I’m sure would be tasty, but I didn’t have that on hand, so I baked my own recipe. Also, the original recipe called for broken cookie crumbs as the topping, and that didn’t sound as tasty as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so I altered that as well.

Ingredients:

Peanut Butter Base:

  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (yellow sugar)
  • 1/4 cup demerera sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling 1:

  • 1 1/4  cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4  cup butter or margarine

Filling 2:

  • 1  package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3  cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4  cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2  cup whipping cream

Topping:

8 -12 Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

Directions:

Base:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper, or spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
  3. Add both sugars and the egg, whip until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix until a soft dough forms.
  6. Press the dough into the pan, flatten lightly with your hands or spatula.
  7. Bake the cookie base for approx 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Filling #1:

  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and butter – uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and stirred smooth.
  2. Spread evenly over bars. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

Filling #2:

  1. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer on low-speed to combine the cream cheese, peanut butter, icing sugar and whipping cream until blended. Beat on high-speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  2. Spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer using a small metal spatula.

Topping:

  1. Open the packages of peanut butter cups, chop them into small pieces on your cutting board.
  2. Sprinkle them evenly over the cream cheese layer. Press in lightly.
  3. Cover with lid or seran wrap and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

**Serves: Approx 24-36 bars, depending on how large you slice these.

**Because the filling contains cream cheese, you need to store these bars covered with a lid or seran wrap, in the refrigerator.

Not only did they look good, they tasted great!

Enjoy!

Crystal

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