These bars have been a family favorite for a long, long time. Or at least, I can't remember the first time I had them, although I know it was my aunt Joan who introduced them. I'm also pretty sure this was the first recipe I learned to make all by myself. It's that easy. These days I use my little mini-prep food processor to make things like graham cracker crumbs, but back then my mom loaded the crackers into a ziplock bag and let me bash them with a rolling pin. I'm still a pretty big fan of cracker bashing.
These were my grandfather's favorite. I remember the plate being passed around one summer day, coming to me before heading to him, and as I reached for the largest square, he told me "ladies don't take the biggest one." That's not something I was used to hearing from my grandfather. The same person who tried to start teaching me geometry before I could properly add. Who claimed that taking a dip in the pool was even better than an actual shower. Ladies? Really? So I went for the second biggest one, only to watch him grab the largest square right after me. Tricked.
My mom, who wrote this recipe out for me, has kind of a funny way of writing down recipes. She tells you the ingredients only as you need them, rather than in one list at the beginning. I'll put them in bold below, so it will be easy to make your list.
Peanut Butter Squares
Mix together in a bowl (using your hands is an easy way to go):
1 cup melted butter (just do it in the microwave)
5 oz (9 sheets) of graham crackers, crushed
1 cup peanut butter
1 lb. box confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
Spread the mixture in a 9x13 pan (pyrex, for example) and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the following, and allow to come to a boil for about 1 minute:
1/3 cup milk 5 tablespoons butter 1 cup regular sugar
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 6 oz. of chocolate chips (half the normal 12 oz bag, you can just estimate.) as well as a dash of vanilla (about a cap full).
Stir until it's smooth, then pour the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer.
Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 3 hours before cutting and serving.
UPDATE: One commenter suggested adding some salt to the peanut butter layer. I think this is a very, very good idea and a kind of modern update. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm planning on it next time I make these.