Today I’m breaking the rules of search engine optimization, and I’m breaking the admittedly lax rules I set for my blog. From the beginning I wanted this to be a food blog, not an issue blog or a lifestyle blog or a feelings blog.
But on February 11 I found out that my amazing dog, Goldie, had a very aggressive and untreatable form of cancer. That day the vet gave her three to six months to live; she died on March 16.
For seven and a half years, being Goldie’s mom was my primary defining characteristic. I was her mom even more than I was a daughter or a sister or even a sugar fiend. It feels like, in losing her, I’ve lost my own identity.
I miss her so much I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin—I’m that frantic to make the pain go away. And Goldie was always my comfort; she licked my tears away when I cried and cuddled up with me when I had a migraine. Just holding her made me feel better. She was living, breathing Xanax, but better because Xanax can’t love you back.
Goldie was perfection, perfection in a fur coat. She was the embodiment of love, 18.2 pounds of joy, sweetness, and light.
Goldie and I filled the last weeks of her life with long walks, trips to the beach, and EXTRA treats—she took after me in that she wanted to eat basically anything she could put in her mouth.
And I just soaked up every cuddle and snuggle and smile she’d give me. THAT SMILE! I miss that puppy’s smile so much.
Anyway, my food blog (for one day only) is a forum to express my feelings.
And that leads me to today’s recipe: The Goldie Bar, a tribute to the best friend I’ve ever had. Goldie loved peanut butter like nothing else so any tribute to her has to be full of peanut butter-y goodness. And I stuffed these bars with caramel because Goldie was a very lovely light caramel color. That peanut butter and caramel are an irresistible combo doesn’t hurt, either.
They’re very similar to these salted caramel bars, but even better because they’re made with peanut butter and have the extra crunch of peanuts on top. This bar is a peanut butter shortbread base with a peanut butter crumble topping, and a creamy and gooey caramel filling. They’re almost as perfect as their namesake.
And trust me, these bars are good enough to make even the grumpiest person smile (almost) as big as Goldie used to. Thank you for letting me vent today. Please make these bars for yourself as a reward for putting up with me :).
- 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 36 caramels, unwrapped
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8- by 8-inch baking pan or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add flour and beat on low just until flour is combined.
- Press dough into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- Place caramels and milk in a microwave-safe bowl and melt caramels in the microwave, stirring often, until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly over cookie base.
- Combine flour and sugar in a small bowl. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers, cut in butter and peanut butter until mixture forms crumbles the size of peas. Stir in peanuts.
- Sprinkle mixture over the caramel filling and return cookies to the oven for 8 to 9 minutes more, until topping has melted somewhat into the filling. Cool cookies completely before cutting into bars and serving.
Peanut butter crumble topping adapted from My Recipes.