Things are about to crazy.
Like, majorly delicious and fun crazy. The best kind of crazy.
Remember earlier this week when I shared this coffee granola and how it makes me disproportionately happy? Well, today’s recipe takes that happy to a whole new level. I’m downright gleeful to share these bars with you today.
The thing is…these bars are completely ridiculous. And I mean that in the best way possible. They are a Father’s Day food gift for my husband, who is obsessed with anything peanut butter chocolate. In fact, if you scroll back through the recipe archives, you’ll find a decent amount of peanut butter chocolate desserts centering around his birthday and Father’s Day. Turns out that grandma was right: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
As soon as I jotted down the idea for the coffee granola, despite the fact that the recipe was sort of just a nebulous thought cloud in my brain, I knew immediately that I wanted to transform said granola into more than just a yogurt topping. And I knew that I wanted chocolate involved, because chocolate and coffee have just as much of an affinity for one another as chocolate and peanut butter do. Turns out, chocolate gets around. I don’t know if I can pick my favorite chocolate combination. I miiiiiiight actaully lean towards coffee over peanut butter, but I realize that opinion may be sacrilege to many of you.
Have no fear! These fudge bars meet everyone’s chocolate needs. We have chocolate and peanut butter AND coffee in the equation, so as one might guess, these are freaking yummy.
The base for these bars is a delicious cookie dough that crisps up beautifully in the oven. It’s the perfect combo of tender and crumbly with crispy edges. Just how I love my cookies. Then! Peanut butter ganache gets poured over top of the baked cookie crust.
Just look at that glorious PUDDLE of chocolate! Does anyone else want to dive in head first? It can’t be just me.
Here’s where the coffee comes in. I take some of the cookie dough from the crust and mix it with a couple cups of the coffee granola. The mixture gets sprinkled over the devilishly rich chocolate layer and adds the most incredible crumbly, nutty crunch, as well as coffee flavor.
The bars set up in the fridge and then the best part happens: you get to slice into them and EAT THEM. These bars are like…pure magic. Dessert magic. They are super decadent but really well balanced in flavor and texture, which basically puts them in my Hall of Fame for desserts.
One bite, and you’ll get why I am describing them so gratuitously.
Normally, when I make decadent desserts like this one, I send most of the recipe to work with Dan. He always reports back with his coworkers’ reactions, and so far, these bars have won by a landslide. The feedback said it all.
Don’t worry, though, Dan still ate more than his fair share of these “Father’s Day” treats. Every time I walked into the kitchen, 2-3 of these bars would be missing from the container. And if you know how often I walk into our kitchen, you’ll know that it amounts to A LOT of bars in a very short period of time. Good thing I cut them in small pieces!
Happy (early) Father’s Day out there to all the dads! Honey, this one’s for you! You’re the best dad I could ever hope for our son. Love you. Peanut butter and chocolate kisses! And these bars!
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of fine salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1½ sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
The remaining crust dough
1½ cups coffee granola (See NOTE)
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan well and line with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugars in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the melted butter and vanilla and mix until everything is well combined and crumbly.
Divide the mixture in half and press half into the prepared baking pan, pressing it in as evenly as possible. Reserve the second half of the dough for the crumble layer.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Allow to cool.
Place the chocolate and peanut butter in a heat-safe bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and peanut butter mixture, allow to sit for a few seconds, and then stir until everything is melted and completely smooth. Stir in the sea salt.
Pour the ganache over the cooled crust and allow to cool.
Place the remaining half of the dough into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. The crumble should dry out slightly and the raw flour flavor should cook out.
Remove the crumble from the heat and stir in the coffee granola.
Sprinkle the mixture over the ganache layer. Cool the bars to room temperature and then place the entire baking pan in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
Remove from the fridge and slice into bars. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve cold or at room temperature.
If you do not feel inclined to make the coffee granola, feel free to sub in any granola.