Yield: 25 squares
“Back to Baking”, pp. 71
With all the craziness happening in the world, routines have been altered, priorites have changed and time has become more fluid it seems. As a result, I realized only recently that I have not posted a recipe from “Back to Baking” in over 6 months. Six months! That is half a year of not getting back to my blog or making new recipes from the book. I have baked many things, but mostly my favourite recipes from the book that I’ve made before time and time again, mainly the oatmeal and raisin cookies which I have done more times than I can count.
The most recent recipe that I made is these truly scrumptious chocolate peanut pretzel squares. I had actually made it more than a month ago, but never got around to posting it. I thus had truly no choice but to make it again and eat the whole thing by myself.
Ingredients for base:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup regular oats
- ½ teaspoon salt
Ingredients for topping:
- 8 oz (240 g) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 cup pretzel pieces, lightly crushed
- ¾ cup chopped peanuts (salted or unsalted)
These bars were fun to make and one of the best, if not THE best, recipe that I have made thus far from this cookbook. I enjoyed crushing the pretzels and mixing everything with the chocolate, it was somehow therapeutic. Now the taste is something else. I am usually not a fan of sweet and salty, but this dessert opened my mind to this combo. The salty from the peanuts and pretzels, and the sweet from the chocolate and shortbread-like base was simply perfect. The combination of all the different textures makes this bar even more enjoyable. The base is kind of like shortbread but more buttery, dare I say perhaps a bit too buttery, and the chocolate-peanut-pretzel top is more crunchy, very pleasant. I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who likes sweet, salty or chocolate. If I had to choose my top three recipes from “Back to Baking”, this would, thus far, definitely be one of them.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan and line the bottom and sides with parchement paper so that the paper hangs over the sides by a few inches.
- Cream the butter with the two sugars until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats and salt to combine. Stir this into the butter mixture until blended. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until browned. While the base is baking, prepare the topping.
- For the topping, melt and stir the chocolate with the peanut and corn syrup in a metal or glass bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the chopped pretzel pieces and the peanuts.
- Pierce the warm base with a paring knife, which allows the topping to grip on, and spread the chocolate mixture over the base. Chill until set, at least 2 hours. Slice the squares with a hot, dry knife. Serve at room temperature.
It has been many many years since I started this blog with the aim of doing every single one of the 200 recipes from Anna Olson’s cookbook, Back to Baking. I have now completed 150 recipes out of these 200, meaning that assuming that there are exactly two hundred in the book, I have completed 75% of my goal! It’s been a long time and there is still some ways to go, but I am happy that I have continued amidst all my life changes and I do plan on finishing this project. Once I start something that I put my mind to, I finish it. Hopefully it doesn’t take another 10 years! To mark this personal milestone, for my next post I will write about my favourite and worst (very few) recipes so far!
Hi Valerie! It’s wonderful to see you sticking with this commitment and baking your way through the book. The time it takes is not a question if your interest is still there. Wishing you continued deliciousness! Anna Olson
Hi Anna, thank you so much for the well wishes! My interest remains intact, I will persevere! 🙂