I found what looked like a great recipe for peanut butter bars on BettyCrocker.com & decided to give them a try. I switched out a few ingredients for a few “healthier” ingredients & started baking. I was pleased with the results and the bars seemed to be a hit! These are REALLY easy to make. Really, really easy. The only daunting part is waiting for them to cool. Below is my altered recipe. I encourage you to give them a try!
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® peanut butter cookie mix
3 tablespoons apple sauce
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup low-fat creamy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, stir all Cookie Base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan using floured fingers. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
3. In small bowl, beat all Filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over cookie base.
4. In microwavable bowl, microwave all Frosting ingredients on High 30 seconds; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes; spread over filling. Refrigerate at LEAST an hour. They’re technically “done” after roughly 30 minutes, but we found the bars became better & better the longer you waited. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 6 rows.
The original recipe called for vegetable oil instead of apple sauce in the cookie base, regular peanut butter instead of low-fat peanut butter in the filling & more powdered sugar instead of flour in the filling.
From reading the comments, people who tried the original version thought the bars were too sweet – which is what prompted my switching some of the powdered sugar for flour.
I wanted to make the bars but didn’t want as many calories as the original recipe (180 calories per 1oz – which is about 2 pieces). This prompted the decision to use apple sauce instead of vegetable oil & low-fat peanut butter instead of regular peanut butter. Based on the nutrition labels from the brands I used, this saved about 50 CALORIES PER SERVING (roughly 2 pieces). 130 is still high, but not as bad. The switch of course also lowered the fat contents.
Tip: these are rich – I originally made them thinking they would be more like “bars,” as the original recipe states, but they were too rich (in the opinion of those who ate them) to eat as a bar; hense the small portions. When making & eating these, expect them to have more of the affect of fugde than a dessert bar: rich & delicious, but satisfy you in a small portion. :)