Monday, January 09, 2006

Mondays with Maida - Brittle Peanut Bars

Page 101 in the old book / page 141 in the new book

When you think of a bar cookie, generally you think of something moist and chewy, possibly with a little crunch on top. Most of the bar cookies sampled so far have fit that bill - but not these. Maida describes them as "hard, chewy, and crunchy like brittle candy". They were a nice change of pace.

Nic made these a few months ago (be sure to check out her post - her photo is just gorgeous) and found them to be more like shortbread than brittle. Mine were brittle just after cooling (which is when I sampled one) and reportedly quite brittle the next day. Either way, they are delicious - I love that contrast of sweet and salty.

As Nic said, they are "dead easy". They have all of 4 ingredients and you don't even have to grease the pan! The cookies are cut in the pan after having cooled just slightly (wait too long and a knife will be of little use). The bars lifted out of the pan easily and cleanly.

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "The cookie was very sweet, but I like anything that's crunchy and with nuts. This truly did taste like a cookie. Rating - 4.0"

Denny: "Very brittle and well named. I'd give them a 2 and I love PB cookies. Rating - 2.0"

Laura: "De-lish! Crunchy, peanutty, and fabulous. Rating - 4.5"

Phil: "As advertised crunchy, buttery, and (yes) brittle. The buttery and nutty attributes were most prominent while the bar was not particularly sweet. Rating - 3.6"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.5

Next week - Hungarian Walnut Bars

Nutrition Facts


Anonymous said...

Your bars actually do look a little thinner and more "brittle" than the ones in Nic's picture...although, you can never trust a picture. It's funny how very slight changes can result in different end products...which is what I would guess must have happened between your bars and Nic's. Quite honestly...they both look divine to me!

Nic said...

I couldn't believe that anything that only has 4 ingredients would come out looking or tasting as good as these. I think yours look great, Cathy. Clearly, you had the good sense to try and cut them before they hardened, which I didn't think to do when I made mine.

Cathy said...

Hi Alice - They do look different - I was wondering if mine cooked a little longer or hotter. I think this recipe can tolerate that kind of variability though and come out yummy regardless!

Hi Nic - I know, 4 ingredients is amazing! I'm not sure it's good sense - I'm a slave to Maida's ever-precise directions!

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

When I look at the pictures of this they remind me of a Munch candy bar. I'm not sure if you've had those before, but they have that salty peanut taste to go along with the candy's sweetness.

It's probably one of my favorite candy bars, and since I like nuts, I'm sure to love these.

Cathy said...

Hi Reid! No, I've never tasted (or heard of, actually) the Munch bar, but I love Payday for the same reason - salty and sweet together are awesome. I think you will like these cookies and you'll never find a simpler recipe!

Anonymous said...

I made these in rather large quantities for an event a couple months ago, and people couldn't get enough of them! I was kind of surprised, as I expected them to be dry, crumbly, shortbread-like cookies. But they were flakier and more addictive - must have been all that butter!! So good.

Also, I made a simple syrup with fresh ginger and poured it over one pan after it was baked, which gave that batch a slightly sweeter, chewier texture.

Cathy said...

Hi Faith - yes, there's certainly a generous amount of butter in these! Mmmm... a ginger syrup topping on peanut cookies... sounds really interesting!

Joycelyn said...

hi cathy, hmm, i love the sounds of "dead easy"...the great picture and evocative writing don't hurt either ;)