The healthy eating we've been doing at our house since January has bummed out my daughter. I used to always make treats and decadent dinners-thus giving birth to this blog. I definitely have been blogging less this month as I have been dieting and eating healthy-which means a lot less fun in the kitchen. I am not saying that eating healthy can't be fun. I've shared some of my own creative takes on the Fast Metabolism Diet's recipes. But as we round to the final stretch (and last 6 pounds to goal) I am hitting a routine with my food choices on this diet, so its been a little rote.
Well, I decided that my monkey girl needed something special. She's been kicking butt at school and I wanted to give her a boost as we push toward the final stretch of year end grades.
Thus these S'more bars on steroids.
A cakey bar cookie has bits of salty goodness with broken pretzels. Then you put a layer of marshmallows and chocolate chunks on top, and throw it under the broiler like a pretend kitchen campfire. And just when you think you're done, you melt some peanut butter chips and drizzle it all over, giving the salty pretzels a nice nutty compliment.
My tween daughter gave me two polite thank you's and...wait for it...a smile.
The elusive preteen smile.
That's worth 10 hours in the kitchen! Lucky for us these bar cookies don't take that long!
Salty Pretzel S'more Peanut Butter Bars
adapted from the Food Network Magazine, Sept 2012
11/4 cup crushed and broken pretzels
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chunks
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 tsp. vegetable oil (or more depending on consistency)
Preheat oven to 350˚. Check your racks. One should be in the upper middle and then one on the top near your broiler. Line an 11 x 7 or 9 x 9 pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Fold edges to fit nicely on the bottom, and cut a slit in each corner and flap the paper over each other to fit the parchment in the corners. Set aside.
Crush the pretzels in a sealable plastic bag and a rolling pin or use a food processor. You want small, broken pieces and some crushed. Measure 1 cup of crushed up pretzel bits in a bowl and toss it with the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the brown sugar. Take off the heat and let cool slightly. Next whisk in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. Finally add the flour mixture and mix well. Pour the batter into the parchment lined baking pan and spread out evenly.
Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup crushed pretzels.
Bake for about 30 minutes in the middle of the oven. The center should spring back when touched. Let the bar cookies cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Once cooled completely, pull the bar cookies out by pulling up on the parchment paper edges and set the cookies and the parchment together on a cookie sheet. Lay the parchment paper flat.
Sprinkle the mini marshmallows and chocolate chunks evenly on top. Turn on your broiler on low. Place the pan gently on the top rack and toast the marshmallows for 1 minute. Keep a close eye on it, lest you burn the marshmallows. You just want them smokey and toasted.
Pull out and let cool a little while you melt the peanut butter drizzle.
In a small ramekin drizzle the vegetable oil in the peanut butter chips and microwave for 30 second intervals at 50% power until chips are melted and you have a nice drizzling consistency.
Drizzle all over the bar cookies. Let the drizzle set up.
Cut in 2 inch squares and store in an airtight container for a week, if they last that long!