For this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient Challenge (hosted by Kim of Ordinary Recipes Made Gourmet), the ingredient chosen was peanut butter. Ohhhhhh peanut butter, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
Peanut Butter cups
PB ice cream pie
Thai peanut sauce
Shall I go on?
It was a tough decision, but looking around the house for accompanying ingredients, it was made much easier. I didn’t have much to work with and the deadline was coming up fast. I looked online for interesting ideas, but I didn’t really come across anything spectacular. I almost made Peanut Butter balls from a recipe out of an old Gourmet magazine, but they didn’t look that easy…too much chilling time. When I make dessert, it needs to be ready…and fast. Too much anticipation and I lose my love for it. I mean, I want to enjoy my dessert without too much sweat, blood and tears.
As I’ve mentioned before, experiments in baking or confectionery don’t always turn out so well for me, but these are fantastic. These are definitely going to be my new go to dish. My signature dessert, if you will. So give ’em a try, you will not be disappointed.
What’s with the name “Idle Hand Bars” you ask? Well, idle hands are the Devil’s playground and the Devil definitely made me make these, because they are sinful. Eat your boring, chocolate heart out, Devil’s Food Cake!
Idle Hand Bars
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
1. In double boiler (or a bowl resting over a pot of lightly simmering water), melt the first three ingredients.
2. While still over water, add egg and beat to combine (will thicken quite a bit here). Remove from heat and add crumbs and pretzels.
3. Press into an 8 x 8 cake pan. Set aside.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup smooth, natural peanut butter (no salt added, reduce salt accordingly if using salted)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1. Add peanut butter and butter together in small bowl.
2. Mix in sugar, salt and vanilla to form a thick paste.
3. Dump onto base layer and smooth over, patting down to make a flat, even layer.
Top (final) Layer
5 oz. Semi Sweet Choclate chips (or other fine chocolate)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Pink Himalayan salt (or other fine sea salt)
1. In double boiler (or microwave), melt butter and chocolate chips together. Stir until complete dissolved and smooth.
2. Pour over peanut butter layer and spread out evenly.
3. Cool in fridge for about 5 minutes (should still be slightly soft on top but not warm).
4. Sprinkle, lightly, with Himalayan salt. Return to fridge (or freezer, if you’re in a hurry like I was), and let cool completely to become hard.
5. Cut into small squares and don’t say I didn’t warn you….these things are addictive.
I think these would be fantastic if they were left to mellow in the freezer for an hour or so. I love frozen desserts, and they last much longer when stored in the deep freeze. Happy snacking!
If you can’t find pink Himalayan salt, try using Fleur De Sel or another flaked salt. Table salt would do in a pinch, but it would probably make these too salty. Branch out, try new things! Go find some cool, new and interesting salts!