I am going to shake things up a little today. I am going to start with the results of this recipe first, and not keep you in suspense. The tagline of this blog is “Adventures in cooking, baking and eating the results”, and I think you know that I try to be pretty honest about those results. I am willing to admit when a recipe just doesn’t live up to my expectations, and I will even fess up to outright failures (hello, Peppermint Meringues!). So I know you will believe me when I say that these bars were nothing short of heavenly. I really mean that. I actually told husband that they just might be the best thing I’ve managed to make low carb and gluten free, and that’s saying a lot. And I am so eager to share them with you that I couldn’t work it into my usual format. These are scream-it-from-the-rooftops good.
The timeliness of this recipe couldn’t be better either. Apparently, November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month. I have to admit, I am usually a little dismissive of these food holidays and celebrations. I mean really, who is declaring all of these things and does it really make any difference? And they all come too fast and furious for me to keep track of, quite honestly. But peanut butter is a whole other matter entirely. It’s much too important a substance in my life for me to be dismissive of a celebration in its name. I am just thankful that it’s a month-long celebration and that I managed to see a few references to it in time to join in the festivities. Peanut butter deserves its own month. Heck, in my books it deserves its own century. I declare the 2000′s the Century of Peanut Butter. Who’s with me?
The idea of adding some peanut butter to my low carb caramel sauce has been in my head for a while now. At first, I conceived of it as something to drizzle over ice cream, and you could certainly do so. It would be a fantastic addition to a low carb sundae. But I didn’t take any action on it at the time, and so the idea continue to grow and evolve in my head. These things always do. My brain finally seemed to settle on sandwiching the peanut butter caramel between layers of shortbread and chocolate, and from that point it didn’t budge. I had a long list of other things I was planning to make, but this one kept buzzing around my brain and whispering itself in my ear. Make me, make me! And this past weekend, I did. The only question is, why the heck did I wait so long???
And now, if my evil plan works, you will all have these bars buzzing around your brain and whispering in your ear. Make me. MAKE ME! And you won’t regret it. Your only problem will be resisting taking a bar every time you pass the pan. That’s been my issue, and let’s face it. Low carb is no longer low carb when you eat the whole pan. Whoops.
In other news, I have been visited by the Fairy Hobmother. Have you heard of this phenomenon? I am not entirely sure what it’s all about, but it’s someone from Appliances Online, which sells major kitchen appliances like this Beko upright freezer. This person also goes around the blogosphere, granting wishes for small kitchen appliances. I left a comment on Cake Duchess about wanting a new coffee maker with a thermal carafe and voila! The Fairy Hobmother contacted me to grant my wish. Apparently, my fairy hobmother doesn’t know much about coffee, so he/she simply gave me an Amazon gift certificate to buy my own coffee maker.
If you would like a visit from the Fairy Hobmother, just leave a comment here saying what sort of small kitchen appliance you wish for. You just might get it!
Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/4 cup granulated erythritol
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
15 drops stevia extract
Peanut Butter Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup granulated erythritol
1 tsp agave nectar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp butter
2 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp powdered erythritol
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
15 drops stevia extract
For the crust, preheat the oven to 350F. Combine almond flour, butter, erythritol, xanthan gum and stevia in a food processer. Pulse until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8-inch square pan and bake 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Set aside and let cool.
For the caramel sauce, combine erythritol and agave nectar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until erythritol has dissolved and mixture bubbles, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Mixture will bubble vigorously. Return to heat and boil one minute, then stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over cooled crust and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Let cool completely.
For the chocolate topping, melt butter together with chopped chocolate and powdered erythritol in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth. Add cocoa powder and stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla and stevia extract. Pour chocolate over cooled peanut butter filling and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Let set at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Serves 16. Each bar has 6 g of carbs and 2.3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.7 g.