Tuesday, October 8, 2013

At Home: Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookie Bars

For my next recipe on What Micky Eats...At Home, I was inspired to make these Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookie Bars after reading Averie's post on cleaning out her pantry to make M&Ms and Oreos Cookie Bars.  She has made several iterations and basically they need any kind of left over candy or cookie bits you have sitting in your pantry.  They are a great way to use up those loose odds and ends.  I had some left over pretzels and figured they would give an extra crunch factor to my cookie bars.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookie Bars (Makes 12 - 15 bars)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup peanut butter-filled pretzels
  • 1 cup plain pretzels, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Reese's Pieces

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.  Allow to cool a bit.
- Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
- Stir in the pretzel bits.
- Turn batter out into prepared 8x8 inch baking pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Evenly sprinkle the Reese's Pieces over the top, lightly pressing them down with your finger or a spatula.
- Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes. Top should be set and edges slightly firm. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
- Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. I loved making these cookie bars because they only take 5 minutes without a mixer and they’re ready in a half hour. Fast, easy, no dough to chill. The bars are dense, thick, and packed with texture. The pretzel bits soften slightly while baking, but retain some crunch. The peanut butter flavor definitely came through with a pow, especially by using both the candy and the peanut butter-filled pretzels.  Plus, the crunchy shells of the Reese's Pieces, contrasted with the soft, buttery, moist blondie dough.  These cookie bars are a texture lover's dream and satisfy those intense peanut butter cravings I often have.  I bet I will make these again to use up leftover candy from Halloween.

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