Only a fellow foodie can understand the kind of all-consuming obsession that takes over when you find a recipe you really want to try. Until you make that recipe, your mind (and grumbling stomach) will not rest. Your every waking thought is consumed by salivation-inducing fantasies of what that first bite will be like. It’s similar to when you develop a crush on someone you just met and obsess over them, except, in the case of the recipe, you can basically guarantee you’ll be together someday. I can’t say the same for your love interest.
And that, my friends, is why I cook.
I had an encounter with one of these recipe obsessions when I changed my Pillsbury calendar to the February page. For each month, the calendar has a Pillsbury recipe. Everything about the February recipe called to me: peanut butter cookies, toffee, chocolate…good lord, what else do you need?
I’m not one to make other people’s recipes too often, but when you’re craving something, there ain’t much you can do but give in. I put a few of my own touches on Pillsbury’s recipe to give you these Peanut Butter-Toffee Cookie Bars with Ganache.
I just love when a semi-homemade recipe comes out just as good as, if not better than, something made from scratch. These bars are bangin,’ so perfectly soft and chewy, like 360 degrees of the best center-bite of a cookie. Even though we used pre-made peanut butter cookie dough, you’d never know. Between that perfect texture and the marvelous mix-ins like aromatic vanilla, peanut butter chips, and crunchy butter toffee, you’d never know we didn’t make these decadent bars from scratch.
The only thing that could make this better is a thick coating of rich, silky chocolate ganache. I’ve tried a lot of ganaches, homemade and from bakeries or restaurants, and this is the best I’ve had. I figured out my ideal level of sweetness, no too sweet, but not bitter like most ganaches are. It’s perfect!
There is so much good stuff going on in one place here that your mouth will be overwhelmed with sensory satisfaction upon the first bite. There’s crunchy, creamy, chewy, chocolaty, salty, nutty, and sweet. If you don’t find love at first bite with this easy-to-make treat, then you must be missing taste buds.
- You can make this with homemade peanut butter cookie dough if you’re an all-homemade kind of cook. I highly recommend my Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie recipe.
- My ratio of chocolate in the ganache may sound like it’ll be too sweet, but it’s actually just perfect. Try it; you won’t be sorry!
- Ganache sounds like this fancy, scary thing, but literally all you’re doing is melting chocolate and mixing in cream. Bam, you’ve got ganache.
- There were originally chopped nuts in this recipe, which I left out for a co-worker with an allergy, but feel free to mix some in.
- DON’T overbake! You’ll lose that wonderful chewy texture.
Peanut Butter-Toffee Cookie Bars with Ganache
Adapted from Pillsbury
For the cookie bars
- 2 rolls Pillsbury® refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
- 1 cup Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle® toffee bits
- 1 ¼ cups Reese’s® peanut butter baking chips
- optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp. McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
For the ganache
- 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In large bowl, break up the cookie dough, reserving ¼ of the second roll to munch on yourself or bake into cookies. Add toffee bits, peanut butter chips, nuts if desired, and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon or knead with hands until well blended.
- Press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes or until golden brown, puffed, and set. Remove from oven to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
- In large microwavable bowl, microwave the chocolate and cream in 20 second intervals, stirring well in between. As long as you mix well, it will only take 4 intervals to be able to stir it smooth. Pour over top of cooled cookie and smooth into an even layer. Place in fridge until set, about 20 minutes (put in freezer to speed this up).
- Cut cooled cookie into bars. Store in an air tight container.