These bars whip up and bake in a jiffy and are delicious. The original recipe says do not use natural peanut butter. So many recipes say that, and I'm beginning to doubt that it's a problem. I've made these several times with natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates), and they are totally fine.
Another ingredient swap I make now - I no longer buy brown sugar. Brown sugar literally is granulated white sugar with molasses added back in. I buy organic sugar from Costco for a decent price, so when I'm not using a better sugar, like maple syrup or sucanat, I feel good about this brand of organic sugar. It's slightly less processed (larger granules and a little brown in color), and it's not GMO. Did you know sugar is one of the common GMO crops?
In a recipe like this, where the brown sugar gets mixing time, I just add the sugar and molasses separately. If you need brown sugar and don't have a mixing step in the recipe, go ahead and mix the sugar and molasses together with a mixer or food processor. I don't usually measure the molasses, but you should add anywhere from 1 1/2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup molasses per cup of sugar.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
adapted from Averie Cooks
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
1 c. organic sugar (or try 1 c. sucanat and omit the molasses)
2 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt, to taste (depends on the salt content of the peanut butter)
1 c. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with some butter; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes. Add the egg, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and stir vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute.
Stir in the peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until center is just set and golden. Bars will firm up more in pan as they cool.
Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Store extra bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.