Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

I have this guilty little secret. It's pretty bad. can I say this.....I use......Cake mix. Okay?! Cake mix! Because seriously, when I'm baking, my kids couldn't care less if it was made from scratch or from a mix. They just need to know it's sweet and it's there in a hurry. But to my credit, I refuse to use canned icing. That stuff is naaaaaassssttttyyyy! Homemade buttercream might take a little longer, but it's so worth it. So what is this leading up to? Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars, my dears. The base is cake mix. And they are good. Very good. And easy. Very easy. And these have the added pleasure of pecans and coconuts. A little unorthodox, but a totally delicious combination.

I adapted this recipe from The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook. (You can click HERE to go to that site.) I like this cookbook. I really do. It has some great recipes. But you know what? Cake mix cakes, no matter what you add to them, still taste like cake mix. I've added several different things to cake mix, and I can't really tell a difference, it still tastes like a cake mix. Does that make me a cake snob? Probably. Oh well. I like what I like.

I do recommend this book if you like to bake, because it has some really great bar cookie recipes in it. But for cakes, I think I'll stick to scratch made.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars adapted from the Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrne

1 package plain yellow cake mix

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 stick butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 12 oz. package chocolate chips

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp butter

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tsp vanilla

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Set aside an ungreased 13x9 pan.

Place the cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture will be thick. Reserve 1 1/4 cups for the topping. Using your fingers, press the crust evenly over the bottom of of the pan so that it reaches all sides. Set aside.

For the filling, place the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbsp butter into a microwavable bowl. Microwave on high power in 1 minute intervals, stirring each time. This should take about 3 minutes. When melted, stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over crust and spread with a spatula so that it reaches the side of the pan. Sprinkle over reserved topping.

Bake until light brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Makes 24 bars.

These will keep on the counter for 3 days, or up to a week in the refrigerator.


  1. Yumolicious! I really wish I could make this. Alas one kid hates peanut butter. The other hates coconut. What's a girl to do? I could make them and eat them all myself...

  2. i will be over at 7 pm for a snack. i'll bring the wine....youi bring the sweets....we will both toss in some giggles....sound good???

    I am going to a football party at a neighbors house and I am suppose to bring a covered dish -- I want to go overboard and wow -- any ideas???

  3. Totally agree. I buy the boxed mixes when they're buy one get one free and I have coupons.They're nice to have when a really big craving hits. But for real baking, no way. They do always taste like a mix, no matter what. And I also bought a can of frosting awhile back, just to slap on a cake in a hurry. GROSS. I forgot how awful that stuff really is.