Peanut butter-a-holic

I LOVE peanut butter.  If you know me very well, you know the extent of truth to this statement.  I am the one who packed a whole jar of cinnamon raisin peanut butter and a plastic spoon in my pack for a day hike in Oregon.  While everyone else ate their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I ate spoonfuls of peanut butter.  I have gotten bags full of peanut butter packs, peanut butter bars, Reese’s cups of all shapes and sizes, and jars of peanut butter for birthdays, Christmas, and going away gifts.  Puts a smile on my face every time.

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This time of year (Halloween) and during Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter, I am usually indulging in Reese’s pumpkins, Christmas trees, hearts, and eggs.  I’m not sure why, but they are much more enjoyable to me than a regular Reese’s cup, which also ranks up there pretty high.  But, when you take sugar and dairy out of your diet, the Reese’s have to go too.  As a result, I’ve started looking for recipes to replace my beloved Reese’s and fulfill my chocolate and peanut butter sweet cravings.  So far, I’ve only tried one recipe.  I’m sure there will be many more to come, and if they are approved in our household then I’ll feel safe to share them on here.

 The recipe is called no-bake peanut butter cup bars.

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I altered the recipe from here: http://detoxinista.com/2014/05/no-bake-peanut-butter-cup-bars-vegan/

A few notes on changes I made:

I don’t like the taste of coconut;  therefore, I only used the coconut oil for the crust.  For the peanut butter filling I just omitted the coconut oil, and it turned out just fine in my opinion.  For the chocolate topping I substituted butter for the coconut oil, and again, no issues with this (butter is still allowed in my diet).  It seemed like these bars tasted better after sitting in the fridge overnight.  They are not as sweet as a Reese’s Cup, but they do the trick for a little after dinner dessert that I don’t feel so bad about eating.  Now when I see all of those Reese’s Cup advertisements on tv and pumpkins on sale after Halloween, maybe I won’t be so bitter about not being able to have them.  Maybe…

My Version of Reese's Bars

Ingredients:

Chocolate Crust:

3/4 cup ground almond meal
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.

To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted peanut butter, you may want to add more salt to taste.  Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.

Rinse the mixing bowl, and use it again, if you like, to make the final layer. Combine the cocoa powder, melted butter, and maple syrup, stirring well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two.

Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month.

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