Monday, April 14, 2014

Diet Books--Peanut Butter Dream Bars

So I have a whole bunch of cookbooks in my collection that promise to help you cook yourself skinny, and since I'm always looking for healthy recipes so I can keep my girlish figure I wanted to give some a try. This dessert sounded delicious and easy, and perfect to pack for work to have as an afternoon snack. I love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, so I thought this would be perfect. What I didn't scrutinize was the amounts of each ingredient the recipe called for to reach the enviable amount of 150 some odd calories per bar. Let's say to create something like what was pictured took a few more ingredients than was listed.

1/2 c 100 calorie Oreo Thins
1/2 c Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1/3 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs whipped light butter melted then chilled
1/4 c creamy natural reduced sodium peanut butter
1 1/2 oz greek yogurt cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbs semi sweet chocolate chips (this is doubled from the original)

I actually bought a loaf pan--for this and for the bread I've started to make, and for this dish it is lined with wax paper.

So the recipe says low calorie thin chocolate wafers--not sure what they were thinking of, and the only low calorie option I saw were these 100 calorie packs. So I used 3 packages--ground them fine in the blender. Then combined the resulting powder with the oats, the powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt. Once that was mixed, I added the melted butter and stirred it to make sure all of the dry ingredients were moistened, then mixed in a tablespoon of peanut butter.

That went into the wax paper prepared pan, and is spread thin across the bottom to make a crust. It is a pretty thin layer in the loaf pan I had, and was a struggle to get it across the whole pan. Once that was down, the pan went into the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.

While that chilled, the cream cheese was supposed to be beat with an electric mixer. That is the approximately two tablespoons of cream cheese are supposed to be whipped with a beater--only it is such a small amount that it mostly just spread it around a lot. Not really helpful or useful. It is supposed to get smooth and fluffy--only there is so little I abandoned the beater and mixed it with my spoon. Once it was smooth, I added the rest of the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt and tried to get it smooth and fluffy with the beater--but it still wasn't much for the beater to work with, so I used the spoon. It was supposed to double in size, but didn't really work so well. By the time I'd finished this, the first layer was chilled enough to spread the peanut butter on top. It actually was the layer that covered the best--the only one that there was actually enough to cover the whole pan bottom. That went into the freezer for 10 minutes to get firm

Once that was out, I went to spread the melted chocolate chips on top. Unfortunately it didn't cover even half of the pan, and I ended up melting more to cover the whole thing. Partially this was because the frozen layer made the chocolate freeze up, but mostly it was because there just wasn't enough chocolate. This is a re-occurring theme in this recipe. In order to get the calorie count down low they didn't add enough of each ingredients to cover the whole pan. This is sort of ironic because the portion size is really big--I'd rather have more of each item in each bite, then a ton of sad bites.

Once the chocolate was spread, it went in the fridge until it was all set. Then I cut it into 8 slices--as the recipe suggested. The chocolate shattered, and didn't stick well to the layer below it. Once I saw how big the slices were I cut them in half again, to make 16 portions. With the peanut butter and butter, it is plenty rich in the half sized bite.

The Verdict: The flavor combination is great, but the texture was off. I think if I were to make this again, I'd not grind the wafers as small and not freeze it in between the peanut butter layer and the chocolate layer. As it is the top is crunchy chocolate and the bottom is chewy and soft--where it should be more crunchy. Still it is a peanut buttery dream flavor--like a little candy treat!

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