Shortbread Bars with Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer

Sometimes, necessity really is the mother of invention.  And sometimes that invention tastes delicious.

dessert recipe chocolate peanut butter shortbread squares

Last week I shared about the problems I had while attempting to make a batch of salted caramel blondies.  The problems with the directions for the supposed crumble topping left me with some extra batter.  Not wanting to waste the ingredients that had gone into the batter, I decided to transform the batter into a shortbread base, and create a new recipe.  I had already used caramel for the blondies. What to do for this square?  A chocolate and peanut butter combo was really calling my name.  I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, especially if it is smooth and silky, not grainy.  Who would have guessed that a badly written recipe for caramel blondies would result in the development of a recipe for some shortbread bars with a chocolate peanut butter layer?

This recipe was taste-tested not only by Greg and his daughter, but also my parents, sisters and their families.  I think you will find it quite tasty.  Try not to eat all the chocolate peanut butter mix.  It really is that good.

Don’t be scared by the number of ingredients or steps.  It is really quite easy to make, it is just that it has three layers: the shortbread base, the oh so amazing chocolate peanut butter filling, and a crumble topping.

shortbread squares recipe

Recipe Shortbread Bars with Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer

Ingredients:

Shortbread Base

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer

  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 – 3 tbsp peanut butter

Crumble Topping

  • ¼ cup diced cold butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 F.
  • Line an 8”x 8” baking pan with parchment paper.  Set pan aside.
  • In a bowl, cream together ¼ cup butter and ¼ cup brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Add ¾ cup flour to mixture, and mix until combined.
  • Spread the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Remove pan from oven, but leave the oven on.
  • Now make the chocolate peanut butter filling.  In a microwave safe bowl, combine the evaporated milk, chocolate chips and peanut butter.  Heat for 30 seconds in microwave oven, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and combined.
  • Pour the chocolate peanut butter mixture over the partially baked shortbread base.
  • Now make the crumble topping.  In a bowl, cut the ¼ cup brown sugar into the ¼ cup butter.  Then add the ¼ cup flour and mix together.  You can use a pastry cutter, a couple of knives or your hands to mix until crumbly.
  • Spread the crumble mixture evenly over top of the chocolate peanut butter layer.
  • Return the pan to the oven, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

I am absolutely in love with the chocolate peanut butter filling I created for these bars.  So much so, that I am dreaming up other ways that I could use it.  I’m thinking of a peanut butter layer cake that uses this chocolate peanut butter mix as the filling between the layers, and even as the frosting.  Umm, chocolate and peanut butter…

What is your favorite accidental recipe?

This recipe is sharing some love at these blog link parties: Much Ado About Monday, Saturday Night Fever and Melt in Your Mouth Monday.

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