Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gluten-Free Adventures: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Okay, so I have been hard at work experimenting with treats and snacks in the gluten-free vein. When I saw this recipe for GF peanut butter chocolate chip bars, I thought: perfect! And also: so easy. I love bar recipes, because they're so much less labor-intensive than ones requiring you to make crusts, or roll out balls, or scoop into muffin tins. You just pour it into a pan and forget it until the timer dings. And it's usually at least a half hour or so, so you can kick back and relax too. This recipe, from Serious Eats, is no exception. I liked that the main flour is brown rice flour, which I've grown to realize I like the flavor of. And the peanut butter should mask any other taste issues as well.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars (Serious Eats)

3 3/4 ounces (3/4 cup) brown rice flour
2 ounces (1/3 cup) potato starch
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces (1/2 cup) smooth peanut butter (I used chunky)
3.5 ounces (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup chocolate chips
[I added chia seeds and flax meal too]

Preheat oven to 350°F;. Grease 8x8x2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In small bowl, whisk together brown rice flour, potato starch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In large bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about one minute. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well between each addition. Stop mixer and scrape down bottom and sides of bowl. Turn mixer back on and continue to beat until mixture is light, fluffy, and almost white. Turn off mixer. Add dry ingredients, turn mixer to low and blend to combine. Add chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake until bars are puffy, golden brown, and a cake tester interested into the center of the bars comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 35 minutes. Place pan on wire rack to cool. When cooled, cut into 12 bars.

I have to say, these bars turned out perfectly. They look and taste exactly like gluten-filled peanut butter bars. Mine came out a tad bit dry, but that was my fault; I let them cook longer than the recommended 35 minutes because I thought they looked anemic (and I like my baked goods to look nicely golden brown). I won't do that next time. They were deeeeeeeelicious. A definite kid-pleaser!


  1. Hi Sheri,
    Me again!! We've been attempting to be gluten free for a few months now so I'm so glad you're posting these recipes. As you may remember, we live in the sticks and can't get a lot of ingredients here. Wellll - going to the big city for Memorial weekend. Any suggestions on items that you've found to be helpful in your gluten free adventures that aren't in a regular supermarket? I have xantham gum, tapioca starch. Our local market carries Bob's Red Mill so we can get most of the wheat free flours. I'd like to stock up while I can, but don't want a pantry full of 10 different flours that I'll only use for 1 recipe. Help!
    Becky Yoshimura

    1. Hi Becky,
      I'm a newbie just like you, but I'm happy to share my opinions. That's great that you can already get the BRM flour series; even I have to go to specialty stores or Whole Foods to find most of them. I know what you mean about going overboard on the flours, but I have them all so that I can compare them. It really depends on what kind of baking you'll be doing. I mainly make loaf bread (for sandwiches and toast), pizza dough, and treats (cookies, muffins etc.) I like brown and white rice flour, sweet rice flour, almond flour, millet flour and sorghum flour (but I think those last 3 are really up to you). I have quinoa flour but haven't tried it yet; I've heard it's good for adding extra protein and might be good in breads. Xanthan gum and potato starch are must-haves. I think you can make most anything with those basics; the rest is just for trying new flavors. I'm always curious about different combos so I buy whatever new GF ingredient I find out about, for fun. If I discover anything extraordinary, I'll definitely share it here. Have fun!

  2. Thanks Sheri! I am having problems finding Xantham Gum (& I haven't even looked for Potato Starch). Can I just use corn starch? Are they just thickeners? Or is there another use?

    1. Bob's Red Mill makes xanthan gum. If you can't find it, you can try omitting it. I just made banana bread without it and it came out perfect! I'll post that awesome recipe soon. If you have tapioca starch, you can use that instead of potato starch. Or substitute arrowroot starch, or any other starch. I think it adds texture or density. I suppose you could use corn starch, but not sure.