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!