Chocolate Bran Buddy Bars—Prototype 3:

Let's face it. To make a batch of three-layered (filling-crust-filling) Bran Buddies has certainly become so time-consuming. And the lower layer of filling breaking up upon cutting these bars (after chilling) only added to the difficulty.

It was time for some kind of compromise. Retain only the top filling layer, and merge the lower one into the crust. While this would result in the relatively dry crust being at the bottom and hence more likely to hit the eater's tongue (sorry, Laurie), at least this reformulated crust would be somewhat moister. Furthermore, the bars wouldn't be as messy to handle (the dual-filling-layers version tended to melt easily in one's hand).

So Prototype 2 gets repeated, but the ingredients for the bottom filling layer get combined with those of the crust mixture. Here are the details:

1/4 cup skim milk, heated and combined with...
1/4 cup cocoa powder. Fully dissolve this in the milk, then blend in...
14 oz. lowfat cottage cheese, whipped. Then add...
1 + 1/8 cups sugar. Blend thoroughly, then add...
6 oz. melted, semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here). Blend this in, then finally mix in...
8.8 oz. finely ground Bran Buds

6 oz. melted, semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz. lowfat cottage cheese, whipped
1/8 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (last ingredient here!)

Press the crust mixture into a 9" x 9" wax-paper-lined pan. Then firm this up by chilling it in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the freezer, and add the chocolate filling on top of the crust layer, carefully applying broiler heat as needed.

When the pan is cool enough to be comfortably touched, put it into the refrigerator. Chill until the top filling is almost completely firm, about 60 to 90 minutes, then cut into bars. Return these to the refrigerator, and chill until fully firm.

Chocolate Bran Buddy Bars—Prototype 3

What a difference dealing with the filling being only on top! There were hardly any disintegration problems. Another helpful factor had to do with the timing of cutting these bars, which was after maybe about an hour (or a little longer) of refrigeration. At that point, the filling was slightly soft (hence just right for cutting). I no longer had to wait for some kind of bottom filling layer to get considerably hard (hard enough to avoid getting squished out under the pressure of cutting the bars, but also prone to easily getting broken up as well).

And this prototype was still a great success, particularly at the Sports Page, a place frequented by Lesa, Steve and their friends for playing darts, singing karaoke or just hanging out—where I have brought in many past Bran Buddy prototypes in addition to this latest batch of chocolate ones (Steve loved 'em)!

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