Vacations in our family were always more like "staycations". We camped and we went to the beach, but it was always fairly close to home. We have made a couple of road trips to Florida and Tennessee to visit my sister. One common thread through our lives, through any trips, parties and celebrations has always been Mom's Peanut Butter Squares. This is the legacy Mom left for us...we will never, ever eat these without thinking about her. It just seemed fitting to me to make these for the Vacation Destination Challenge. Mom passed in November, and a day hasn't passed that I haven't thought of her. While going through her things I came across the original recipe...I was shocked to see that the recipe card was written in my own handwriting! I was completely unaware all these years that I was the one who had given her the recipe. I'm sure I found it in a magazine or cook book sometime back in the 1980's. For over 30 years no event in our lives was complete without those peanut butter squares. She made them for birthdays, weddings, picnics, graduations, illness and death. One of her neighbors told me she 'healed the neighborhood' with her pb squares. They are so simple to make, yet not so simple to perfect. Through trial and error, she learned how important it was to make sure the graham cracker crumbs were ground fine enough. Rather than buying already ground crumbs, she would grind them herself in the food processor until they met her standards.
I have taken the recipe one step further and begun to melt the peanut butter with the butter, ensuring a smooth, almost fudge-like texture. I think Mom would approve. Here's to you, mom...I promise to carry on your legacy and ensure the peanut butter squares continue to heal and love our extended family and friends.
Mom's Peanut Butter Squares
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Melt butter and peanut butter in heavy saucepan. Add vanilla. In medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and confectioners sugar. Stir peanut butter/butter mixture into graham cracker mixture and mix until well-blended. Press into an 8 x 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside. Melt chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe dish, stirring after 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Spread over peanut butter layer. Let cool and cut into squares. Be prepared to be the hit of the party and make these again and again! Enjoy!