Chocolate Peanut Butter Marble Bars
For any Halloween parties coming up try this one. Either make cup cakes, and frost with white icing. Then put a chocolate melt on the frosting for the body with red mini M&M's for eyes. Buy the little tubes of black frosting or piping gel and pipe on spiders legs. Or just make a cobweb design. Alternatively, make a graveyard scene with the 9x13" pan. First of all, precut the bars in the pan to make your life easier. Then spread frosting over the entire pan. Top this with either milk chocolate chips grated in your cheese grater, chocolate jimmies or turn complete oreo cookies into fine crumbs in the food processor. Sprinkle one or more of these on top of the frosting to make the dirt in a graveyard. Make gravestones out of Vienna fingers using the black tube of piping gel (RIP, skulls etc), scatter candy corn pumpkins and buy the Russell Stover foil covered chocolates that show Frankenstein, ghosts, witches etc and stand them up in the frosting. Then once the kids hopefully (but not definitely) have been impressed with your genius, you can easily lift up the bars because you have already cut and loosened them. If the kids aren't impressed, Adults will be.
Method1. Measure peanut butter by lining measuring cup with plastic wrap, spoon in peanut butter and then remove plastic wrap containing peanut butter and scrape peanut butter into bowl. Throw away plastic wrap and you still have a clean measuring cup.
2. Cream peanut butter, butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. This takes about 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips, the batter will be quite stiff.
3. Spread batter into greased 9x13x2" lasagna style pan. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven. Use a knife to swirl now softened chips through batter for a marbled effect. I run the knife several times up and down lengthwise and then repeat width wise for an attractive effect.
5. Return to the oven and cook for a further 18-23 minutes or until lightly browned, still soft but cake like in the center when you test with a knife. Don't overcook. It will be set, with little cracks, light brown at the edges and bubbly like a soft cake. Timing will depend on your oven, check before time is up.
6. Remove from oven, cool completely in pan and cut into bars. And have some yourself before the kids discover them. They have never made it as far as the freezer.
I have tried making these in both mini muffin cases and ordinary cup cake cases. It is very difficult to swirl the chocolate pieces through individual sizes and I think the chocolate needs to be swirled for it to melt through the mix instead of staying as whole pieces. I also made them by mixing the chocolate chips into the batter in the bowl and then scooping the entire mixture into individual cup cake cases. They were good but the chocolate doesn't melt down the same way. However, my son still demolished the cup cake sizes. I have also tried making these with a mix of 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips plus 1 cup in total of chopped peanut butter cups, peanut butter bites and peanut M&M's. Nothing really seemed to increase the peanut buttery flavor. I also think the intensity of just semi sweet chocolate is wonderful. You could be awful and top the cup cakes or the bars with peanut butter frosting. Sinful, sweet but good.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.