Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies

Ever since I first saw these brownies I knew I had to make them. And make them I did…within hours of spotting them.

These beauties begin with a layer of chewy, fudgy brownie, are topped with peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups, and then are topped off with a melted chocolate, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies mixture. Heavenly and sinful all in one.

I’ve made these a couple of times and they are a true favorite of mine. My boyfriend loves them, I love them, and they’re a great pot-luck dessert for adults and kids alike. They disappear fast, and I’m always asked for the recipe.

To begin, prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir in the cereal to evenly coat.

Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. The waiting part is hard.

Peanut Butter Crunch Brownies
Makes 12 brownies
Recipe slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is’s Better-Than-Crack Brownies

Ingredients:
1 batch of Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
½ cup salted peanuts
1 cup Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ½ cup Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:
1. Prepare the brownies according to the directions and bake for about 5 minutes less than the recipe states. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with the peanuts and chopped peanut butter cups. Return to the oven and bake for 5 additional minutes.

2. While they are finishing baking, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the cereal to evenly coat. Remove the brownies from the oven and evenly pour the chocolate and peanut butter mixture over top. Spread to cover evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting and serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Homemade White Chocolate Peanut Butter

I have now been in Switzerland for a week running around like crazy, and trying to get organized. My work day is from 8 to 5:30, but with marathon training and morning exercises in between I find it hard to get anything done. This weekend I had some time to myself so I went to the grocery store only to find that it didn’t have peanut butter. I was confused, but upon asking a local (in my very bad French) I learned that the Swiss don’t really eat peanut butter. You can get it in some specialty stores, but it’s not common at all. WEIRD!

In North America people go crazy for it, and when they can’t have it they go nuts for peanut butter substitutes like sunbutter or almond butter (which are both amazing as well). I am one of those typical North American’s that also love the stuff. Before leaving for Switzerland I made my own peanut butter often, and tried this white chocolate variation from How Sweet It Is. It’s a must try!

To begin, grab some high quality dry roasted peanuts.

Add peanuts to a food processor and blend until a thick nut butter forms. Stream in oil and vanilla with the processor on, continuing to run it until the mixture is smooth (about 3-4 minutes). You can add more oil if needed, but in small increments. Turn off processor, add melted chocolate, and turn processor back on. Blend until smooth.

Try it out on some yummy whole wheat toast, and enjoy! I miss this stuff.

Homemade White Chocolate Peanut Butter
Recipe from How Sweet It Is
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups dry, roasted peanuts (I used salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup white chocolate chips/chunks/bars, melted

Directions:
1. Add peanuts to a food processor and blend until a thick nut butter forms. Stream in oil and vanilla with the processor on, continuing to run it until the mixture is smooth (takes about 3-4 minutes). You can add more oil if needed, just do it in small increments.
2. Turn off processor, add melted chocolate, and turn processor back on. Blend until smooth.

You can keep this peanut butter at room temperature for a week, but refrigerate it if you want to keep it for a few weeks.

Energy-Packed Granola Bars

Guess what? I’m going skiing today! Not downhill, or mogul jumping or anything like that, but wholesome cross-country skiing. Excited? I am! It’s just like any other day though. Why? It’s morning, and I’m about to bake. No surprise. The difference with today is that I need to bake something that I can have to snack on while skiing. So, what better than energy-packed granola bars?

Granola bars are great because you can cater them to your own wants and needs. Like cranberries, pumpkin seeds, maple syrup and almonds. Or how about peanut butter, cashews, and chocolate? Or coconut, golden raisons, honey and sesame seeds? Holy variety! I’m a vegetarian, and because of this my cupboards are FILLED to the brim with various nuts, seeds, oats and dried fruit…the perfect ingredients for granola bars! Today I’m going to go with oats, nuts, seeds, honey and dried fruit.

You’ll never buy granola bars again. These are preservative free, and full of ingredients that you KNOW. Heck, you’re going to make them, so pack them full with ingredients you like!

This recipe was adapted from the Golden Book of Baking.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup of nuts (I used a mix of roasted redskin peanuts, cashews, and roasted almonds)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of sultana raisins, dried cranberries, and dried papaya)
1/2 cup seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds and raw hulled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375F, and butter an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter with the honey and raw sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely.


3. Remove from heat and stir in the oats, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just golden.
5. Cool completely before cutting into bars.