Sweet n' Salty Peanut Butter Candy Corn Bars with a Shortbread Crust

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed shortbread cookies

3 ounces unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt 

For the filling:

3 cups candy corn or mellowcreme pumpkins

11/2 cups creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

For the topping:

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 tablespoon vegetable shortening

3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped 

Directions 

Spray a 9x9 pan with non stick spray and set aside.  Combine the crushed shortbread cookie crumbs with the butter, sugar, and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Use a fork to combine until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Press crust mixture into the bottom of the pan and freeze for about 30 minutes until firm. 

Remove pan from freezer.  Place pumpkins and/or candy corn in a large heat safe bowl.  Microwave for one minute.  Stir and reheat for an additional 30 seconds.  Stir and continue to heat for 10 second intervals (stirring after each) until no lumps remain and mixture is smooth.

 Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix till combined.  Mixture will be very thick and almost dough-like.  Press filling mixture into the pan using your fingers making sure it's even and smooth (it will feel almost like modeling clay).  Place pan in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes. 

To prepare the topping, place the chocolate and shortening in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat for one minute, remove and stir.  Reheat for an additional 30 seconds, remove and and stir.  Continue to heat for 10 second intervals (stirring after each) until smooth and no lumps remain.  Add the chopped peanuts to the melted chocolate and stir to combine.

 Pout melted chocolate and peanuts over the filling layer.  Use an offset spatula to make sure the chocolate is even.

 Place pan back in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up.  Remove from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes (making them easier to cut). 

Cut into bars and enjoy!

 

Filling recipe adapted from Elizabeth LaBau
 
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