Chubby Hubby Cookie Bars
Chubby Hubby is quite possibly my favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. Fudge? Good. Peanut Butter? Good. Pretzels? Good. All combined in a creamy malted vanilla ice cream base? Goooood.
I have wanted to make a “Chubby Hubby” inspired dessert for quite some time now, but I’ve had to postpone my masterpiece since I am unable to resist the temptation of eating an entire dessert in one sitting.
I’ve also been on somewhat of a health kick lately. After committing myself to run my own half-marathon to Chicago, I’ve tried focusing on eating foods that will only benefit my body and increase my stamina… But quite honestly, I had to attend a pool party and I really wanted to look skinny in my new bathing suit… But the running excuse sounds a lot less superficial. :)
Now that my little pool party is over and I am running over 30 miles a week, I figured I could allow myself some temptation in the form of Chubby Hubby goodness. Only, this version includes a cookie base and a caramel topping. Take that, ice cream counterpart!
The malted milk powder adds a nutty sweetness to the chocolate-pretzel cookie base and then it’s topped with an excessive amount of salty-sweet peanut butter-caramel topping and a smooth chocolate ganache. If any of you know me at all, you know I am a big fan of peanut butter-caramel and these bars do not disappoint!
2 cups crushed pretzels
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar (firmly packed)
- To make pretzel crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix together pretzels, graham cracker crumbs, butter and brown sugar. Stir together with a rubber spatula until well incorporated. Spread into a a 9×13 pan and press firmly down. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons malted milk powder
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 ¾ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- To make cookie base, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until completely combined, and light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, at low speed, mixing until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be very thick.
- Turn out into pan and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over cooled pretzel crust. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes
½ cup Evaporated Milk
60 whole caramels, Unwrapped
½ cup peanut butter, melted
- To make peanut butter-caramel, prepare while cookie base is cooling. In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with ½ cup evaporated milk.
- When melted and combined, add ½ cup melted peanut butter and pour over cookie base and spread evenly. Place in fridge until caramel is set.
1 bag (11.5 ounces) milk chocolate morsels
1 cup heavy cream, scalded
- To make ganache, place chocolate morsels in a large non-reactive bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat cream until bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let chocolate and cream mixture sit for 3 minutes.
- With a wooden spoon, begin stirring small circles in the middle of the bowl. As the smooth mixture begins to form in the middle, slowly expand the size of the circle until the cream and chocolate is fully incorporated. Let ganache cool for 5 minutes.
- Carefully spread ganache evenly over caramel layer and garnish with pretzels if desired. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.