With the weather cooling, and with my wife’s pregnancy continuing, the demand for desserts in our household has increased exponentially. Growing up, I never had many baked sweets, likely because Korean moms don’t really bake. My wife’s mom, however, did bake. And she often baked dessert bars. My mom’s unfamiliarity with baking notwithstanding, I never really had bars growing up on the east coast. So I am wondering if bars are a midwest thing. Maybe they are. Maybe not. But either way, they’re delicious, particularly if you get to put your own twist on them and align the chocolate chips in neatly and meticulously aligned rows.
Buddy Bars Recipe:
As usual, for desserts, I refer to the Western Dubuque Marching Band Cookbook. I specifically chose this recipe because I was in the mood for peanut butter. Also, the recipe lets you spread chips on top of the bar as a topping/garnish, which to me is a blatant and welcome invitation to be OCD about your food.
1. cream it: follow the instructions and beat peanut butter and the fat. I used butter instead of margarine here. I was pretty confident that no one would object. I used my hand mixer, which I think is basically a must for making desserts like these.
2. cream it again: once the peanut butter and butter are combined, beat in eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
3. cream it a third time: then, add the flour and salt. Add the flour slowly. Otherwise, it will create a dust storm in the kitchen.
4. chip it: once everything is creamed, fold in some chips. The recipe called for chocolate chips, but I didn’t have enough chocolate chips on hand for this. So I used butterscotch chips instead.
5. bake it: dish this out into a 9×13 and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. When it comes out, it will look like a blondie.
6. align it: once it’s out of the oven, and while it’s still hot, top with chocolate chips. The recipe instructs you to spread them on there. And presumably, since you do this while the thing is still piping hot, the chocolate chips are supposed to melt into a big ol chocolatey layer, like a ganache, perhaps. But instead, I individually placed eat chocolate chip, which I thought looked much better.
7. eat it: once the whole thing cooled, it was ready to eat. But I was conflicted. I thought it was so pretty that I almost didn’t want to eat it. But, ultimately, my desire for dessert overwhelmed my desire for order.
It turned out that each bar had exactly 9 chocolate chips on them. The bars themselves were quite tasty. A tad on the dry side, but that may be an over baking problem and/or the result of using butterscotch chips rather than chocolate chips for the bar. But overall, it tasted like a really super chewy peanut butter cookie. It was nice. I think I may sub in some oil for part of the butter the next time I make them; that way, they will be even chewier.
I was hoping that the chocolate chips would still melt into the bar, but it turned out that my individual placement method took a little too long. And most of them melted a little but few of them stuck to the bar. That’s ok though. They were still quite wonderful to eat. And also to look at.