Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Buddy Bars—Prototype 8:

How about doing to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bran Buddy Bars the same kind of thing that was done for Prototype 3 of their chocolate-only counterparts? In other words, merge the lower, dark, chocolate filling layer into the crust mixture, but retain the peanut butter filling layer on top.

While this method would make the recipe simpler, another helpful idea involved an extremely minor shift for the sugar. More specifically, the total sugar used here amounted to 3/4 of a cup plus 2 tablespoons. The distribution of this ingredient on Prototype 7 was:

Bottom filling: 1/8 cup
Crust mixture: 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
Upper filling: 1/8 cup

But efforts to measure 1/8 of a cup had been a challenge, due to lack of a measuring cup in this size. Some claims out there have somehow indicated this amount as being equal to 2 tablespoons. However, a closer check would reveal 1/8 of a cup to be more than that, but it wouldn't be by much. In fact, the difference was negligible enough to make a minor change in how the sugar would get measured out for this prototype. By merging the two lower layers based on the above info, the sugar allocation would be:

Combined bottom filling/crust mixture: 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons
Upper filling: 1/8 cup

Due to the small enough difference between 1/8 of a cup and 2 tablespoons, a tiny allocation swap could be made, and the recipe total for the sugar would still be 3/4 of a cup plus 2 tablespoons, as follows:

Combined bottom filling/crust mixture: 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup plus 1/8 cup
Upper filling: 2 tablespoons

Hence the sugar for the combined lower mixture would now add up to an easier-to-handle 3/4 of a cup (and measuring this ingredient for the upper filling would be easier as well)!

Here, then, are the simplified details:

16 oz. whipped lowfat cottage cheese
2 oz. unsalted peanut butter
1 tbsp. skim milk
(blend the above three ingredients before adding the next four ones below)
3/4 cup sugar
6 oz. melted, semi-sweet chocolate (be sure to quickly stir this one in while it is still melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla (next to last ingredient here!)
8.8 oz. Bran Buds, ground up

6 oz. melted, white chocolate
2 oz. unsalted peanut butter
2 tablespoons 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 refrigerator (not the freezer this time—it has been determined that refrigeration is sufficient) for 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator, and add the peanut butter filling on top of the crust layer. If broiler heat is needed, be very careful. Use just enough to make the filling spreadable (too much heat can brown the filling).

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 Peanut Butter Bran Buddy Bars—Prototype 8

Looks like I overdid it with the broiler heat, as the filling on top got slightly browned. But the outcome was not a disaster. However, I cut up the bars a little on the late side, so there was some filling disintegration, although very little. A cautiously quick heat treatment would fix that.

Lesa greeted me with a thankful kiss, immediately picking up one of these bars as I walked with a plate of them through the entrance door into the Sports Page, where she was playing darts. It didn't take very long to empty the rest of this plate.

That's another treat that was "on target".
Seems like something went wrong when I tried to compare 1/8 of a cup to 2 tablespoons for this prototype. Chances are, I was using a small cup that indicated a measurement of 2 tablespoons—a quick, convenient way to make such a measurement, rather than using a single measuring tablespoon twice. A few weeks after making this batch of bars, I did some additional research on the Internet in regard to the question of how many tablespoons were in 1 cup. I kept on getting 16 as the answer here. This would mean that 1/8 of a cup would equal only 2 tablespoons—not more than that, as I thought earlier!

But I wondered why I came up with such a different evaluation. So I took some measuring spoons and cups, did some further research, and determined that the "2 TBSP COFFEE MEASURE" which I very likely used in the earlier comparison was, in fact, deficient (no, this supposedly was not from a coffee can, but rather part of a regular set of measuring cups). Maybe this particular cup was meant for heaping, not leveling. So after checking with the other measuring utensils, I have finally arrived at the conclusion that 1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons.

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