Salty-Sweet/peanut butter lovers, this one's for you. These bars are outrageous. but for your health, best made to be shared with a group. (I don't want you to glycemic-crash upon eating the entire batch.)
"If you have a peanut allergy, swap out the peanut butter and chopped nuts for almond or cashew."
Notes: Regular creamy peanut butter must be used here. Natural peanut butter, that needs the oil mixed in, does not the contain necessary emulsifiers needed to keep the structure of the bars intact.
CARAMEL-ICED PEANUT BUTTER SQUARES
Ingredients: Bars: 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 creamy peanut butter at room temp., 3/4 cups light brown sugar, 1 egg at room temp., 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt. Icing: 3 Tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. milk, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/3 cup chopped roasted and salted peanuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350* and parchment-line an 8x8 baking dish in one direction.
2. Whisk the melted butter and peanut butter together in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Crack-in the egg and add the vanilla. Continue with the whisking until very smooth and glossy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder. Tip into the egg mixture and fold-in until combined using a spatula. Batter will be thick, stir only until the flour is mixed in.
4. Press dough into the baking dish in an even layer. Bake for 17-20 minutes until lightly colored. Cool.
5. Make caramel icing: Heat butter, peanut butter and milk over medium while whisking. Bring to a simmer then remove from heat and add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix.
6. Pour the icing over the cooled bars while it is still warm. Immediately fling the chopped peanuts onto the icing so they can stick. Slice when icing is set.
Tip: To help set the icing, cover with plastic and push into the fridge for a bit.