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A lot of holiday recipes can be quite involved, and require fancy ingredients, which makes sense, because Christmas is a time to celebrate and pull out all the stops.
But sometimes you just need a break. You want something that’s delicious and festive but comes together in under an hour with ingredients you probably have on hand.
This chocolate peanut butter bark is just the thing. It’s quick and easy, and ridiculously addictive to eat. It freezes well, and makes a lovely gift.
chocolate peanut butter bark
1/2 stick (2 oz) salted butter, softened
4 tablespoons (64 grams) peanut butter*
scant 1/2 cup white sugar (see note)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips*
1/2 cup chopped peanuts*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, peanut butter, sugar, molasses, egg yolk and vanilla on low until just combined, and then increase to medium and continue to beat until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, add flour and mix on low until blended.
Gather dough into a ball if it’s crumbly, and scrape out onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Using your hands at first, and then switching to the bottom of a measuring cup to get a smooth surface, press the dough out into a rough 10.5x15.5-inch rectangle/oval. This isn’t a science, you just want an evenly thin spread of dough across the cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until the bark turns a nice golden brown (the edges may be slightly darker, but better a charred edge than a soft-centered bark). Remove pan from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and let sit for a 2-3 minutes. When the chocolate is completely melted, spread out to create a smooth layer (an offset spatula works well for this). If you want, you can use the tines of a fork drawn lightly across the surface of the chocolate to create “bark” texture.
Sprinkle with peanuts, pop in the freezer for 20 minutes to set, then remove and break into shards. Enjoy!
peanut butter: I’ve used both a peanut butter spread (like Jiffy), and an organic salted peanut butter, and both work well.
chocolate chips: you can use all semi-sweet here, but I prefer milk chocolate chips, or even better, a blend of white and semi-sweet—particularly because of the marbled effect.
sugar: you can substitute 1/2 cup packed brown sugar for the white sugar & molasses.
amount of peanuts: the original recipe inspiration called for 1 cup of chopped nuts, and I found that to be far too many. Half that amount seemed right to me.
Adapted from “Chocolate-Nut Bark” in Williams-Sonoma The Best of the Kitchen Library: Desserts.