Although these are actually chocolate chip peanut butter bars, I decided the ridiculously long name Up ’til 7:30am because of a 24 Marathon Birthday Bars were more appropriate. Here’s why…
My friend’s birthday was on July 3rd, and she loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so I figured I’d make her something with that flavor combo for our July 4th picnic. On her actual birthday, her plans were to eat an ice cream cake and watch season 2 of 24. I was invited over and, although I don’t watch the show, I figured I’d hang out and watch a few episodes for the sake of good company. Well a few episodes turned into 14 in a row, and everyone else had watched 3 before I got there.
That Jack Bauer makes for a damn good protagonist, and these bars are as yummy as he was in that show. (Disregard that comment if you do not find him as attractive as I started to by the end of those 12 hours… These bars are really good.) Next thing you know it’s 6am on the 4th and I had to go home and make these before the picnic started at noon. That’s what I call a marathon.
I was running on ice cream cake and coffee, but I needed to make sure there was time for the bars to cool before I had to take them to the park that afternoon, so it was 6:30am or never. Fortunately, this was a pretty easy recipe to make, even though I was half asleep, and even more fortunately they still turned out fantastic. (I “taste-tested” one for breakfast that day.) I adapted the recipe I found through Sweetest Kitchen, which she found on Almost Bourdain. You should absolutely make these for the peanut butter and chocolate lover in your life.
UP ‘TIL 7:30am BECAUSE OF A 24 MARATHON BIRTHDAY BARS
- 5 Tbsp butter (or 85g if you’re weighing)
- 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
- 1 cup flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set that aside as well.
In the mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until well combined. Scrape down the bowl, and add the vanilla and egg until they’re blended together. Then add your dry ingredients and combine most but not all of the way. You don’t want to mix it too much right now because you’ll have to stir it a bit more once the chips are added anyway. So add in your chips and mix until they’re evenly distributed. I actually find this easier to do by hand than in the mixer.
Dump out the dough into the pre-greased pan, and use a spatula to press it evenly across the bottom. This doesn’t look like enough dough to cover the whole base of the pan, but I assure you it is. It rises plenty in the oven, so don’t be alarmed and think that the bars will end up thin and crispy.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Once you test with a toothpick, and it comes out clean (around 18 minutes) leave it in the oven to brown up a bit because the initial pallor is pretty unappealing, even though it’s cooked through. Put the pan on a rack and let it cool for about 10 minutes before running a butter knife around the edges of the bars to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
Let the bars cool the rest of the way in the pan. At this point, 7:30am, I went to sleep. However, if I’d been rested and coherent, I would have otherwise additionally decorated these with a drizzling of semisweet chocolate and a smattering of extra PB chips on top – or maybe a drizzling of both. (Just some suggestions for those of you who bake at normal hours.) Once they’re cool, you can cut them into 28 bars (7×4).
The recipe posts both said these bars were both cake-like and cookie-like, but I actually found them to have the texture of a really good brownie. (Like these…) It could be because they were thinner than they would have baked up in a 10″ round pan. (The original recipe called for a 10″ round cake pan.)
Personally I really, really liked these and while there were no direct comments (aside from how yummy they were) as to the all-around evilocity of these bars, I’ll give them a rating of 3 because I ate a lot more of them than I should have. Mmm, just looking at the picture I can still smell them…