Have you ever thought you didn’t like an ingredient and then suddenly realized that you’d actually been enjoying it for years? This recently happened to me. I never liked Whoppers growing up and remember being thoroughly confused about why someone would prefer a chocolate malt over a milkshake. But this all changed when the lovely Shannon announced she was hosting a Boston blogger cookie exchange. I decided it would be fun to come up with a cookie version of my very favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor, Chubby Hubby. Between the fudge covered peanut butter filled pretzels and streaks of fudge and peanut butter, I was completely hooked the first time I tried it! So you can imagine my surprise when the label of the pint I picked up for “baking research purposes” said the ice cream itself was vanilla malt! Huh, how come I never noticed this before? I was a bit flustered. I mean, how could I have been enjoying malt ice cream and turning my nose up at Whoppers over all these years? I think the answer is that the flavors of Chubby Hubby are perfectly balanced. I would have never thought to pair malt with pretzels, peanut butter, and chocolate, but I am sure glad the geniuses at Ben and Jerry’s did!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any malted milk powder at the store, so I picked up some Whoppers and decided to use peanut butter cookie dough as the base instead. I sandwiched coarsely chopped pretzels and Whoppers between two layers of cookie dough and then baked the bars up and topped them with a chocolate ganache. The bars were very rich and I loved getting a bit of Whopper and pretzel in each bite!
All the cookies at the exchange were delicious and unique! Ready for your mouth to water? I got to pig out on Adrienne’s Lime Meltaways, Bridget’s Chocolate Almond Orange Macaroons, Elina’s Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Kelly’s Cookie Dough Truffles, Mary-Kate’s Black and White Cookies, Nicole’s Lemon Almond Cranberry Crescents, Shannon’s Maple Bacon Toffee Oatmeal Cookies, and Tina’s Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Bars! The event was so fun and I think Shannon wants to make it an annual tradition, so I am already looking forward to next year!
Peanut Butter Chubby Hubby Bars
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini pretzels, coarsely chopped
1 cup Whoppers candy (malted chocolate balls), coarsely chopped (I just cut mine each in half)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, peanut butter, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread half the dough in a greased 13×9-inch pan. Sprinkle pretzels and Whoppers evenly on top; drop remaining dough in chunks on top and spread evenly, until all the pretzels and candy pieces are covered. Bake at 350˚F for 23 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
In a medium bowl, microwave chocolate chips and heavy cream on High 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Spread ganache over cooled peanut butter bars and refrigerate for an hour or until ganache is set. Cut into 32 bars after the pan reaches room temperature (this makes it easier to cut the ganache). Makes 32 servings.
Nutrition: 288 calories, 15.4g fat, 1.4g fiber, 5.7g protein per serving
Cost: $0.21 per serving