Last week, I wrote about food blogging and its attendant challenges. Well, one of the biggest ones came up just a few days ago.
I was reading one of my favorite blogs for peanut butter desserts, Averie Cooks. I’m sure you’re familiar with Averie, but if not, she’s a peanut butter goddess. I own her cookbook, Peanut Butter Comfort, and I like to sit around and drool at her pictures.
Anyway, last Friday she posted these Tagalong bars. And as soon as I saw them, I slapped myself on the head and cursed. Because you see, I had a very similar bar cooling on my kitchen counter.
Listen, I’m no Averie. I can’t say that my pictures are better than hers, because they’re totally not. And I don’t know how her bars taste yet, though I’m willing to bet they’re awesome. But I’m actually thrilled that we were on similar wavelengths last week, because that means I’m doing something right.
And as you can see, our recipes are pretty different, despite their seeming surface similarities. When it comes down to it, it’s pretty clear that Tagalongs are fabulous enough to deserve several copycat versions making their way around food blogs.
My intent with these bars was to KISS. You know, to Keep It Simple, Sister. No, that last “S” doesn’t usually stand for “sister,” but I was taught as a kid that you should never call anyone “stupid,” and I hold by that rule. That aside, these bars are very easy to put together.
The base is a quickly assembled shortbread, and the middle layer is just peanut butter and powdered sugar. I ran out of powdered sugar and forgot about it, so when I was making these bars, I had to make my own using a blender. It’s quick and easy, not to mention cheap. I felt very much like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he makes fire. Yes, I actually ran around my kitchen screaming, “I….have made…FIRE!” Luckily, everyone at home is quite used to me by now.
The top layer is simply melted chocolate left overnight to harden on its own, and voila! Tagalong magic without the Girl Scouts to enable me. Not that I’m complaining about that.
Food bloggers often think alike, and if I’m thinking like peanut butter queen Averie, I’m a happy girl. I hope you enjoy all that Tagalong season has to offer on both her site and mine, not to mention the other amazing offerings out there, like this one from Dorothy of Crazy for Crust (a.k.a. one of my favorite food bloggers ever). Eat up!
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- In a measuring cup, mix the flour and baking powder. Pour into the butter mixture and beat until a dough forms. It will be thick.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden. Cool.
- While the crust is baking, make the peanut butter filling. Mix the powdered sugar and peanut butter until a dough-like consistency is reached. Set aside.
- When the shortbread crust is cool enough, pat the peanut butter filling gently and evenly onto the surface of the shortbread.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips for one minute and 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Spread carefully over the peanut butter filling.
- Let the chocolate harden completely, preferably overnight. Cut into squares with a sharp knife.