Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzel Bars

Pretzel Crust:

3/4 Cup White Whole Wheat or All Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Coarsely Ground Pretzels

1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed

1/2 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread

2 - 4 Tablespoons Water

Peanut Butter Fudge Topping:

12 Ounces (2 Cups) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips or Chunks

1/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar

1 Cup Earth Balance Creamy Peanut Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Roughly Crushed Pretzel Twists

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 8 x 8 inch square baking pan.

Mix together the flour, ground pretzels, and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the crumbs come together into a cohesive dough. Transfer to your prepared pan, and press the dough firmly and evenly into the bottom. Bake for 20 - 24 minutes until golden brown all over. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before proceeding.

Place the chocolate pieces and agave in a microwave-safe container. Heat on full power for one minute. Stir vigorously, and add the peanut butter. Heat once more for about 30 seconds and stir again thoroughly, until completely smooth. If the chocolate hasn't all melted yet, continue heating in 30-second increments on half power until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Mix in the vanilla, and quickly pour over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels evenly over the top, and be generous! It may seem like a lot, but you want to almost completely cover the fudge layer. Use the palms of your hands to gently press the pieces in so that they adhere.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour, until firm. Slice into bars or squares, and let come back up to room temperature before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, in one layer. Though the fudge is firm enough, stacking squares is a bad idea because they're likely to smear and become extremely messy.

Makes 12 - 16 Bar Cookies

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.bittersweetblog.com