This was the first time I've made these bars, though I've had the recipe for a long time. I decided to try these for a potluck lunch and I'm glad that I did! It's a really unique version of peanut butter bars with cranberries.
The recipe requires letting the cranberries soak, so I did that while I was busy doing other things around the house, which was convenient. Once I really started the cooking, it ended up taking about 35 minutes prep time before the final stint in the oven.
These were really different than I expected. The creamy center is great, and the cranberries give it a little extra sweetness. The tops were quite crumbly, however, making them a little hard to pack neatly into a container for the potluck. But the good taste makes them worth it. We'll see if there are any left after the lunch.
Peanut Butter Bars
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
6 ounces cream cheese (two 3-oz. pkgs.), softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set aside. In a small bowl combine cranberries and water. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain well.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and 1/2 cup peanut butter with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in the brown sugar. Beat in the flour on low speed (mixture will be crumbly). Stir in the peanuts and drained cranberries. Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium bowl beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg, 2/3 cup peanut butter, and lemon juice; beat until well combined. Spread evenly over crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top, pressing lightly into filling.
4. Bake about 25 minutes more or until top is lightly browned and edges are puffed. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 12 to 16 bars.
Recipe Source: Better Homes & Gardens