By Rose McAvoy
During my elementary school years, people in Seattle dressed more formally for the office. My dad went to work wearing an pressed shirt, tie, and polished shoes that he covered with these funny waterproof over-shoes. He called them rubbers. That has nothing to do with the story but it makes me giggle.
Every morning Dad would get on the number 28 bus with his newspaper and sack lunch and ride into downtown to go to work in one of the very tall buildings. I don’t know which one. He did stuff with computers. At a time when the world was still plugging away in “real time” his job sounded super amazing to my 8-year-old ears. Around Christmas, as with most offices, it was customary for employees to bring in a confection to share. Many years we would enthusiastically begin a double or tripple batch of sugar cookies. Making the dough is fun, rolling and cutting the first cookies is a delight, but reaching 9 p.m. with only half the dough baked and a mere dozen frosted, even an 8 year old starts to get a tension headache. As much as we all liked the idea of irregularly shaped homemade sugar cookies, they are a tremendous amount of work for 30 seconds of chewing.
On other years Dad would throw together are big pan of Peanut Butter bars. For the frazzled Christmas Elf, a no-bake bar cookie can be a lot less work for a much more indulgent reward. Of the confections Dad made around the holidays I liked Peanut Butter Bars the best. Not to be confused with my favorite of ALL no-bake bars, the Nanaimo Bar, Peanut Butter Bars come in a close second. For the past four years I have done my best to enjoy these treats cautiously or not at all. Given the choice between a small Peanut Butter or Nanaimo Bar I have relished a single Naniamo Bar and moved on.
This year I have found a way to enjoy both. On my travels around the interwebs I happened upon Peanut Butter Cup Grahams. A big shout out to Alisa at godairyfree.org for this recipe revelation. The recipe is written for dairy and gluten free folks in need of a chocolate peanut butter fix. I looked at it and immediately thought of Dad’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. With a few little tweaks and twists these grahams are everything I love about Dad’s bars and the best part is they have nearly 250 less calories per piece! Now that ought to jiggle your bells!
You may now skip to the recipe or if you like to geek out on numbers too here’s the comparison:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars IV cut into 24 servings: calories 321, fat 19 g, carbohydrates 35 g, fiber 1.2 g, protein 3.3 g, PP= 9 per piece!
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams per graham: calories 80, fat 3.5 g, carbohydrates 11 g, fiber .4 g, protein 1 g, PP = 2
Check the label on your box of grahams. The Honey Maid Low Fat grahams used in this recipe are 35 g. per serving. Other low fat grahams may be a little smaller, using smaller grahams may further reduce the calories.
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams
These individual graham treats have all the chocolate, peanutty, graham goodness of the traditional bar cookie without the pesky fat and calories! Reworked from Peanut Butter Cup Grahams
• 6 tablespoons of PB2 chocolate
• 3 tablespoons of water
• 1 tablespoons of natural creamy peanut butter (the ingredients should include only peanuts &a pinch of salt)
• 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 6 graham crackers, quartered
• 1 cup of chocolate chips, melted
• 1/2 tsp coconut oil
• sea salt for sprinkling
1. In a small bowl, blend the PB2 chocolate with water, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. It should be a thick spreadable paste. If needed add a touch more water to thin or peanut butter to thicken.
2. Spread a thin layer of the peanut mixture over each graham and place on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.
3. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water (DIY double boiler). Chocolate may also be melted slowly in the microwave. Heat on high for 15 seconds, stir and repeat until smooth.
4. Dip grahams peanut butter side down into the melted chocolate. Allow some of the excess to drip off. Place dipped grahams on a cookie sheet to cool. Repeat until all the grahams are covered. Sprinkle each coated graham with a teeny pinch of sea salt.
Refrigerate the Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams for at least an hour or until the chocolate has hardened. Once the chocolate is hard store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Per Graham: calories 80, fat 3.5 g, carbohydrates 11 g, fiber .4 g, protein 1 g, PP = 2
• Melt together 1/2 cup of semi sweet morsels and 40 grams of dark chocolate
• Omit the PB2 Use 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1 tsp of cocoa powder – this will affect the the nutritional information.
• Try different nut butters like almond or cashew, – again this will affect the the nutritional information.