I imagine that Halloween will be unlike any other this year due to the current pandemic situation that we are living through. We won’t be seeing our friends and neighbors in downtown Edmonds going from shop to shop or ringing neighborhood doorbells to get a piece of candy. (If you do decide to give out candy, here are some safe options to protect yourself and the trick-or-treaters.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Peanut Butter Filling
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups plain peanut butter, creamy or crunchy (at room temperature)
½ cup pure maple syrup
2½ cups coarsely crushed gluten-free graham crackers (feel free to use regular graham crackers if you don’t have a health reason to avoid gluten.)
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (or chocolate chips)
1. Lightly butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan and set aside.
2. For the peanut butter filling: Put the peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. You can mix by hand or in a machine on medium-low speed. Mix the melted butter and maple syrup in a medium bowl, then gradually add the butter mixture to the peanut butter, stirring until everything is combined. Fold in the crushed graham crackers and pour the filling into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the edges. The filling will be somewhat loose.
3. Chill the filling until firm, about 1½ hours in the refrigerator or 45 minutes in the freezer.
4. For the ganache topping, combine the cream and maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. If the ganache appears a little grainy, stir in a little more cream until it is completely smooth and shiny.
5. Spread the ganache evenly over the chilled peanut butter filling all the way to the edges. Chill until firm, about 45 minutes in the refrigerator or 25 minutes in the freezer.
6. Cut into 24 pieces (2-inch squares). To cut cleanly, dip a sharp knife in very hot water until heated through, then dry thoroughly. Between cuts, dip the knife in hot water and wipe it dry.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Serve chilled, as the bars begin to melt at room temperature.
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.