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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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At the end of last month we had a "Meet the Parents" weekend. Thankfully, there were no Ben Stiller talking about cat nipples antics or family sports games leading to bloody noses (my apologies if you've never seen the movie Meet the Parents and have no idea what I'm talking about!). And instead of a man meeting his future in-laws, it was two sets of in-laws meeting each other.

Remember last November, when my sister got engaged and I threw them a pizza party? It was finally time for both Nate's parents and Julia's parents (aka my parents) to meet each other. Since we're also in St. Louis and spend quite a bit of time with both Nate and Julia, it only made sense that Ryan and I were included in the weekend festivities!

After three days together, I think Nate's parents got a good taste of our family. Unfortunately Quinn and Renatta, the two youngest siblings and comedians of the family, were absent. However, they got a taste of our competitiveness, thanks to the intense Final Four games happening that weekend, a taste of our quirkiness, thanks to my dad failing to change out of his pajamas before their arrival for brunch, and, most importantly, a taste of our food. We started them off with Amish Baked Oatmeal, a family favorite, and then proceeded to stuff their faces with food the rest of the day, ending on a high note with these Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars.

Any apprehension they might have had about our family was hopefully erased after a few bites of these. With graham cracker crumbs and pretzels in the chocolate crust, a thick and creamy peanut butter filling, and a chocolate top sprinkled with sea salt, these were the best of all worlds!

One Year Ago: Chili-Glazed Pork with Sweet Potato Hash
Two Years Ago: Caprese Sandwiches

Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
from Amanda's Cookin'

for the base layer:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-1/4 cup sugar
-5 tbsp cocoa
-1 egg, beaten
-1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
-3/4 cup coarsely crushed pretzels

for the middle layer:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
-1 cup smooth peanut butter
-1 tsp vanilla

for the top layer:
-5 oz bittersweet chocolate
-1 tbsp unsalted butter

1. In a glass bowl over simmering water, melted butter, sugar, and cocoa, stirring until smooth. While still over the water, add egg and beat to combine (mixture will thicken). Remove from heat and stir in graham cracker crumbs and pretzels. Press into an 8 x 8 inch glass dish lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Place in the freezer while you make the middle layer.
2. To make the middle layer, combine the peanut butter and butter in a small bowl, mixing to combine. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, mixing until a thick paste forms. Spread over the chocolate base and return to the freezer.
3. To make the top layer, melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and spread over the peanut butter layer. Sprinkle with sea salt or fleur de sel if desired. Cover and refrigerate or freeze until set.