Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Bars with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Crust
Peanut butter was named one of the Top 5 Foods That Should Have A Place Your Diet by CNN.
Whoever wrote that probably wouldn’t have wanted you to mix it with butter and sugar, but regardless of the increased amount of calories and fat, you can still feel good about giving yourself a healthy dose of antioxidants. And eating a Super Food that has protein and fiber, lowers cholesterol and your risk of heat disease.
Because, like I told you at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to seek a balance in my life. If I am going to have a fabulously delicious dessert, I also want it to have some good stuff in it too.
I have also decided to cut food dyes out of my diet all together by the end of the year. Because, unlike peanut butter, they have zero benefits, lots of risks and are known carcinogens. I’ll write more about that later once I’ve figured out how to conconct an all natural red food dye.
I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to find a balance in my life. Peanut butter caramel bars are a great balance, giving you a dose of healthy goodness with an incredible dessert. But don’t misunderstand me, this is in no way a diet food. They are high in calories and a treat that you should enjoy every once in a while, but at least you have the peace of mind that there are also health benefits.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread:
For the shortbread crust:
¾ cup Brown Sugar
1 sticks of Butter
½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Salt
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 ½ cups Dark Chocolate Chips
Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick of butter
½ tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp course sea salt
Line the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up and over the edges of the pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat on high until well combined. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder, stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until mixed well with the butter mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Press the shortbread into the bottom of the baking dish in one even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges have turned a golden brown and have started to look dry. Allow to chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
In a pot over medium high heat, add the peanut butter and the cream. Stir continuously until the peanut butter has melted and is well combined with the cream. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and set aside.
In a separate pot over medium high heat, combine the sugar, & corn syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 230 degrees, about 5 minutes. While the caramel is cooking, do not stir, but swirl the pan every 30 seconds to redistribute the caramel sauce evenly. Once 230 degrees is reached, add the butter, stirring to allow it to distribute and melt, then remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter cream, adding slowly as it will bubble up furiously.
Pour the caramel over the shortbread and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set. Sprinkle the top with the sea salt. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and cut into squares.