Lake Tahoe, a ski resort and gambling destination straddling the border between California and Nevada, was not my first choice of places to live when I left Ireland, but a bakery in one of the casinos there offered me a job, and I grabbed it. At the bakery, I was required to start work at the shocking hour of three a.m. When it's that early, it's hard to know what an appropriate breakfast is, so I'd often eat one of the bakery's peanut butter bars, which featured a layer of chocolate and were salty and sweet and really very good. As time went by, the number of bars I ate each day started to climb, and I realized I had to limit my peanut butter bar intake or risk a slippery slide into gluttony. Consider yourself warned.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
Mix in the peanut butter, followed by the egg and vanilla.
Add the flour, coconut, and salt and mix until well combined.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
Scatter the peanuts over the top. Press them into the dough with your hand.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl in the microwave or over a bain-marie. Spread a thin layer of the melted chocolate over the top of the bars in the pan. Transfer the pan to the fridge and let the chocolate cool for 2 hours. When the chocolate has set, cut into 24 bars.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.