Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Ultimate Peanut Butter Fingers
This recipe is a redesign of my mother's classic Peanut Butter Fingers (Bars). I am always eating way to many of these whenever she makes them. (And she makes them a lot). You just can't resist them. They are everyone's favorite in my family. No matter what party or event they are brought to, they 're always a hit! There is just something about peanut butter and chocolate that just go together. Hmmm, it seems like I've had these flavors before. Two great tastes that taste great together. It would make a great candy. ;)
So you must be wondering why I am redesigning them if they are perfect already. Well, you know me, I'm always trying to lower the fat and reduce the sugar in my baked treats. Mostly because, like I said before, I eat way to many of them. So I try to make them a little less fattening and a little more "healthy" if I can. Plus I just felt like experimenting with the recipe. I also added a cream cheese peanut butter filling. Of course this does add a little more decadence to the recipe but hey I never said I was perfect. ;)
I reduced the butter from 1 stick (8 tablespoons) to 4 tablespoons. I used heart healthy canola oil in place of the other 4 tablespoons of butter. It only has 1 gram of saturated fat per tablespoon as compared with the 7 grams in the butter. For the peanut butter, I only used one tablespoon in the bars themselves but used 1/2 cup in the filling. So that's kind of a wash. I also reduced the sugar by half. And guess what, no one ever noticed. We really don't need all that sugar in our desserts. It is just not necessary. The chocolate topping is a lighter version as well. It has no butter in it compared with my mom's original recipe which has 3 tablespoons. It is very deep in flavor, so if you love dark chocolate, these are for you!
I think they turned out great. But don't take it from me, make them and see for yourself!
Peanut Butter Fingers
by Mixed Salad Annie
4 Tbsp.(1/2 stick) unsalted butter or tub margarine, softened
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of flour
1 cup of quick oatmeal
1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds (optional)
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet. (Mine is about 12 x 8).
Mix the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the oil, egg, and peanut butter.
Add baking soda, salt and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and flax seed if using; mix until just combined. Add oatmeal and mix until just combined.
Push dough evenly into cookie sheet with fingers. (Cut a sheet of waxed paper the same size as the cookie sheet and place over the dough. It will be a lot easier to spread the mixture into the pan. Remove waxed paper). Bake around 18 to 20 minutes depending on your oven, until they are light golden brown.
Peanut Butter Filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter, room temperature
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel Cheese- 1/3 less fat) or fat-free, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese, vanilla and sugar. Mix until the sugar is completely incorporated. Spoon mixture in between 2 sheets of waxed paper (cut the same size as the cookie sheet). Roll out to within 1/2 of the edges. Remove top sheet of waxed paper and place on top of the cooled peanut butter fingers. Carefully remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Refrigerate to chill. Top with chocolate topping.
Bittersweet Chocolate Topping:
adapted from Hershey's
2 bars (2 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
Heat water and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar and continuing to stir, bring to a boil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened. Take off heat and stir in extract.
Pour over chilled bars. Spread evenly to cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.