Dear Readers, I’d like to introduce you to The (Not So) New Girl. Check her out here.
We hung out recently and she told me that she wants to see big things on this little old blog in the summer months. Never one to buckle under pressure, I say bring it on, The (Not So) New Girl!
Starting with these, Channeling Contessa’s salted peanut butter chocolate chip bars. When our team meets in the summer months, I’m in charge of sustenance, and these seemed perfect. I’ve been crushing on them since I first saw them go up on Clara’s (gorgeous) blog over a year ago.
We met. We ate lunch (it was amazing, you’ll see it here soon). And The (Not So) New Girl claimed she was full. She had eaten enough calories already. She was not going to partake in the peanut butter chocolate chip bars. So I took one. CV(D) took one. And we mmm-ed and ahh-ed over these dense little beauties. And The (Not So) New Girl’s resolve weakend. And she took a little piece.
And she mmm-ed and ahh- and before I knew it, she was going back for more.
“It tastes just like a Reese’s Cup and I don’t think you know how much I love Reese’s Cups.”
Fast forward to the end of our time together, and we had killed off an embarrassing amount of the 9×9 pan. And The (Not So) New Girl claims she ate more than any of us.
I like to test out a dessert by taking a small bite to determine whether or not it’s “worth the calories.” Meaning, if I’m going to give up an enormous amount of my weekly intake, I am not looking for a rock-hard, grocery store chocolate chip cookie. Don’t even. I want something homemade. I want something buttery. I want something that melts in my mouth. These fit the bill.
To make a 9 x 9 pan, you will need:
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 C brown sugar
1 C creamy peanut butter (I used natural so the bars wouldn’t be overly sweet)
1/2 C butter at room temperature
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (but oh do I wish I had a bag of dark to fold in instead)
flaked sea salt (but I was so excited about these that I forgot to press it onto the batter before baking…oops!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Normally I would swap an 8 x 8 for a 9 x 9 but these bars are thick, and I’d go 9 x 9 if you can. If you end up using an 8 x 8 because it’s what you have, I won’t tell.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of your mixer, mix brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and white sugar till combined. Scrape down sides, and beat in egg and vanilla, mixing till combined.
Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing just till combined. Fold chocolate chips in with a spatula.
Press batter into pan and sprinkle with sea salt. Using your best kitchen tool, your hands, press the sea salt into the batter, and bake 25 minutes, or until tester comes out relatively clean. Cool in pan, then cut into squares and serve to friends who can’t resist.