Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Prepare time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

1 cup smooth peanut butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 cup chopped pecans (have substituted peanuts)

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Set aside an ungreased 13 by 9 inch baking pan.

  2. Place the cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on a low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The mixture will be thick. Reserve 1 cups for the topping. Transfer the remaining crust mixture to the pan. Using your damp fingertips, press the crust evenly over the bottom of the pan so that it reaches all sides. Set aside.

  3. For the filling, Place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over a low heat. (I use a double boiler) Stir and cook until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coconut, pecans, and vanilla until well distributed. Pour the chocolate mixture over the curst and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula so that it reaches the sides of the pan. Using your fingertips, crumble the reserved crust and scatter it evenly over the chocolate. Place the pan in the oven.

  4. Bake the cake until it is light brown. 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on the wire rack to cook for 30 minutes.

  5. Cut the bars and enjoy. You can remove them from the pan and put them in plastic container or serve from baking pan.

(Contributed by Mimi Leonard from the 2007 Lake Nockamixon Century baked goods)