Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge Bars

Now two weeks into the semester, I’m slowly becoming used to the new routine.  Posting has been scant, but that’s not for a lack of recipes going through my kitchen.  Hopefully, I’ll get back to normal within the next week!  In the meantime, here’s a recipe for a rich treat (that isn’t that bad for you).

Although I don’t use this combination in baking as often as I would like, peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations (and I’m sure there are many of you out there who agree).  Reese’s are probably just about the only candy I’ll actually buy – nothing else is worth the extra calories, in my book.  One of the guys I work with mentioned making chocolate peanut butter bars, so I decided to do just that – a fudgy brownie base with a lightly sweetened peanut butter topping with an almost cheesecake like texture.
These bars are extremely rich.  To eat a normal brownie sized bar, it takes me at least double the time, and I have to have a nice tall glass of milk to go along with it.  Coffee is also wonderful.  I didn’t sweeten the PB layer very much, but feel free to add more if you like it sweeter!
I’ve been keeping these in the fridge (which is necessary because of the greek yogurt in the PB layer), and I think they’re just perfect with their fudge-like consistency straight out of the fridge.  If you don’t like it as cold, just let them come to room temperature before eating.
Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bars
makes about 12 (generously sized) bars

For the fudgy brownie layer:
    • 250 g (about 8.75 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped
    • 3 T butter
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/3 cup coconut sugar*
    • 8 packets truvia (or another 1/3 cup coconut sugar)
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour**
    • 1/4 t baking powder
Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, truvia, and vanilla, until slightly foamy.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and chocolate mixture, until fully incorporated.  Pour into a lightly greased 8×8″ baking pan, smoothing it out so it is even.

Bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan before topping with the peanut butter layer.
For the peanut butter ‘cheesecake’ layer:
    • 1 cup natural peanut butter (preferably the kind you don’t have to stir – it gives the best texture)
    • 2 T confectioner’s sugar
    • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
    • ≈14 drops liquid stevia
    • 1/4 t vanilla
In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together with a whisk (or beat with an electric blender to make it a bit easier), until smooth and creamy.  Spread over the cooled brownie layer evenly.

Place in the fridge until firm, about 1 hour.

Cut into squares, and either serve immediately or allow to come to room temperature before serving.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

*Can use brown sugar or regular sugar in place of coconut sugar.
**To make gluten free, use 1/4 cup almond flour in place of the white whole wheat flour.