Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Bars

14 T butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
9-1/2 oz (2 c plus 2 T) flour
1/2 c peanuts, finely chopped

1 c creamy peanut butter
6 T butter, at room temperature
1-1/2 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c plus 2 T heavy cream

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhang for easy removal. 

In medium bowl, stir together butter, sugar and salt.  Stir in flour and peanuts to make a stiff dough.  Press into bottom of pan.  Prick all over with a fork, then refrigerate 30 minutes (or freeze 5-7 minutes) until the dough is firm.

Bake dough for 20 minutes at 325, then decrease the heat to 300 and bake until the crust is golden-brown and completely set, 20-25 minutes more.  Let crust cool completely before topping.

Put peanut butter and butter in bowl of a stand mixture (with paddle attachment) and beat on medium until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add half the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 T hot water.  Beat on low until combined, then on medium until smooth and fluffy, about 1 more minute.  Beat in remaining powdered sugar and mix, about 1 minute more, until smooth and thick, like frosting.  (If the filling seems too stiff, add another 1 T hot water and beat for another minute.)  With knife or metal offset spatula, spread over crust.  (Note:  The filling may not spread smoothly and evenly, but the ganache will cover it.)

Put chocolate in small heatproof bowl.  In small saucepan, bring heavy cream to a boil.  Remove from heat, pour over chocolate.  Allow to sit for 3 minutes.  Stir with a spatula or spoon until combined and smooth.

Spread over peanut butter filling to coat evenly.  Let the bars sit at least 3 hours before cutting (or refrigerate for one hour). 

Carefully remove the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer to a cutting board.  Remove foil and cut into 1-1/2 inch squares. 

They will keep at room temperature for one week.

Fine Cooking (December 2006, No. 82, page 74)
We find it easiest to refrigerate the bars before cutting to make the cuts more smooth.