When I was a freshman in college, my roommate and I kept our little dorm-size freezer stocked with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure how we got that ice cream… neither of us had a car so we didn’t go grocery shopping. Maybe my mom brought it down for us? In any case, we were rarely without at least two pints of ice cream and the flavors we made sure were always in that freezer were peanut butter cup and chubby hubby. Peanut butter cup is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re not familiar with chubby hubby ice cream, it’s malted vanilla ice cream loaded with peanut butter-filled, chocolate-covered pretzels. So basically, it’s my personal flavor nirvana.
Vanilla, peanut butter, salty pretzels and chocolate. These are my desert island flavors, without a doubt. I’ve combined these ingredients in the past in things like chubby hubby truffles, Rice Krispie treats, and even milkshakes… I was thinking about that flavor combo again recently and thought that a good ol’ chocolate bar/bark was in order!
I first started thinking about these bars in terms of a bark (you know how much I love my peppermint bark around the holidays!), and then it morphed into more of a bar idea, a la the homemade Snickers bars.
I started with a layer of melted semisweet chocolate (although feel free to use milk or dark if you prefer), topped it with miniature pretzel sticks, then added a peanut butter layer similar to the filling of buckeyes (another holiday favorite of mine), and then finished the bars off with another layer of melted chocolate.
Peanut butter-filled, chocolate-covered pretzels in bar form. Done and done.
Maybe I should go all-out and top one with some vanilla ice cream? Perhaps to celebrate that I never have to study for another final for the rest of my life? I think I just sold myself on that idea.
Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing excess to hang over the sides.
Place half of the chocolate in a medium bowl and microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until completely melted. Pour the chocolate into an even layer in the prepared pan.
Gently place the pretzel sticks in an even layer on top of the melted chocolate. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
Whisk together the melted butter and peanut butter, then whisk in the powdered sugar until completely smooth. Spread in an even layer over top of the pretzels.
Melt the remaining half of the chocolate using the same method as in step #2. Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and use an offset spatula to spread in an even layer. Return to the pan to the refrigerator until set, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars and serve. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.