Friday, July 23, 2010

Better Than Reese's bar

Nutmeg's favorite treat at the farmer's market is Better Than Reese's Bars. I figured I could make them far cheaper--they sell for $1.50 for a 3x2" bar! The ingredients for a whole batch might cost 4x that (because I usually buy fresh ground PB at about $4/2 cups). So I set out to try a recipe earlier this week.

I realized that I essentially made the same thing I made last Christmas, except at Christmas time I was trying to duplicate PB cups and went through a heck of a lot more work, making them in a mini-muffin pan with chocolate on top and bottom. I looked at a bunch of recipes online and chose the one that sounded the best and included graham cracker crumbs (healthier than straight sugar, I hope). But it was way too sugary, so I added even more PB. Here's what I came up with:

Better Than Reese's Bar
  • 2 1/2 c crushed graham cracker crumbs (18 full crackers)
  • 2 c peanut butter
  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 2 c confectioner's sugar
  • 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c peanut butter (opt)
Mix together the crumbs, pb, butter, and sugar. Spread in a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips (90-120 seconds in microwave, stir every 30 seconds, hold back 1/4c to temper after rest are melted). Add 1/2 c pb if desired for more pb taste. Spread on top. Cool for a while and cut into squares before chocolate hardens.

Based on comments on the recipe, I'd already reduced the butter and sugar. But when I was done, it tasted like sugar only, so I double the PB (to 2 cups). I still wasn't sure, but after they cooled it tasted peanuty enough. I liked the idea of the pb in the chocolate, especially since I wasn't sure about the pb taste of the main portion. But that ended up tasting more PB-y as well, so I think it was a bad move.

I crushed the crackers by hand. First, it took forever. Second, I couldn't get every crumb fine. Well, I could have, but I didn't want to spend another half hour doing it (imperfection is the key!). But this is one recipe where fineness matters. I would actually consider sifting out the larger pieces to crush by themselves. The small pieces make the bars feel like a Reese PB cup since it has little bits of nuts (or maybe crackers, too) in them. But the big pieces make it seem like you are eating pb on a graham cracker. (Which, by the way, is a lovely treat, but not what I was going for here.)

I put most of them in the freezer and look forward to seeing what Nutmeg thinks of them. Perhaps she'll pay be $1.50 each Saturday for one? Well....I should at least give her a discount...say $1/bar? What better way to teach her that making it from scratch is cheaper than buying?

On the other hand, she doesn't have a concept of money yet, so I'm not sure if that's what she'll learn. Maybe if I sell her two for the same price it would click? [Mine are a bit smaller, too. Maybe 4 for $1.50?]

Oh, and I don't think these are better than Reese's mini peanut butter cups. It would be pretty hard to get better than them. But a close second that's far cheaper and I can make from scratch!

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