Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bars

As most of you know, I’ve been stuck at home for weeks now with this whole herniated disc issue, which has kept me away from my full time job at the Really Big Bookstore. It sucks, because at this point, I can’t even drive a car - there’s that whole numbness in the foot thing, which doesn’t SOUND like a big deal except when you think about OMG WHAT IF I HAVE TO STOP THE CAR? You know, because sometimes I am expected to do that. Whatever.

So anyway, this has left me cooped up at home. While a lot of folks think that would be kind of a dream gig right there, laying on the couch all day eating bon bons and watching Storage Wars marathons on television, I gotta tell you, I’ve gotten a little bored.

OK, I was bored the second day. Which meant I had a lot of time to peruse the Interwebz and look at naked men find recipes that might be worth trying some day. In fact, I stumbled across this one for Peanut Butter Bars. Now, it calls for graham crackers  but looked like a decent idea, so I thought, ok, let the recipe fuckery begin, and I will make a gluten free version of this puppy! I figured I could drag one of the pub chairs over to the counter, and cook whip it up from a sitting position.

So I made a few changes, as you’ll see (I’M SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST) to make it gluten free and even more delicious. First of all, I replaced the graham crackers with animal crackers. Partly because I don’t especially love graham crackers, even GF ones, and partly because hey, look in the pantry, there’s some GF Animal Crackers!

Now, since the animal crackers are a little sweet, that meant I had to reduce the amount of powdered sugar in the recipe, otherwise we’d lose the peanut buttery goodness. For the bars themselves, you’ll need the following:

3 Cups animal cracker crumbs
1 Cup peanut butter
1 Cup powdered sugar
                                              1 Cup melted butter

Combine all of these together in a large bowl, and mix ‘em up. Be sure you use three cups of cookie crumbs, not three cups of cookies that you’ve turned into crumbs. There’s a difference in volume. And I use my Ninja Chopper to pulverize the shit out of my crumbs.

Spread this mixture into an ungreased 8x8 pan, and stick it in the fridge. Let it sit a couple of hours, until it’s nice and firm.

Now, this is where it gets good. The original recipe calls for a blend of peanut butter and chocolate spread all over the top, so that in theory, this would taste just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I thought that sounded good… but I can buy a Reese’s Cup at Kroger for 79 cents. I needed something… more.

And this, Gentle Reader, is where the fuckery truly begins. One word:


Yes. I decided these peanut butter bars were far too tasty for just a plain ol’ chocolate topping. They needed a chocolate bacon ganache.

For those of you who have never tried bacon with your chocolate, you’ve been missing out. It’s seriously good. And combining it with peanut butter? I’m getting oddly aroused just thinking about it.

Here’s what you need for your ganache topping:

1/2 lb bacon
8 oz Bakers chocolate
1 Cup heavy cream

Cook your bacon. You can cook it any way you like, but I prefer one of these methods:

1) Oven baked. Spread your bacon on a cookie sheet, flat, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. You will NEVER pan fry again.

2) Microwave. Normally I think microwaved food is gross, but if you put your bacon on a paper towel on a plate, nuke it for about ten minutes, you’ve got nice evenly baked bacony goodness. Don’t overcook it, or it loses flavor.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, stirring it occasionally. You don’t want to burn it. Once it gets hot, add the chocolate and whisk until it melts.

This will work better if you chunk it up into smaller pieces. As your ganache thickens, ADD THE BACON!.

I like to chop the bacon up into small pieces, because then you get a nice smooth ganache. Go ahead. DOOOOO IIIIIIIIT. Come over to the dark side.

I guess in theory, you could top these things with plain old melted chocolate, but unless you're a vegetarian, there's just no excuse for that. And I'll point at you and laugh.

Once your bacony chocolate ganache is nice and thick, remove it from the heat, and spread it all over that tray of peanut buttery goodness that is sitting forlornly in your fridge where you forgot about it because you got distracted by bacon.

Smear it around, covering all the peanut butter, and stick it back in the fridge to thicken.

Let it chill for a couple of hours. Cut into chunks, and dig in. Seriously, your arteries are gonna hate me for this one, but your taste buds will thank me a thousandfold. And when your spouse asks you why you went to the store and spent a ton of money and only brought home peanut butter, chocolate and bacon, remind him or her that those are the only Food Pyramid items that count.

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