So I realized after making these bars that I have a subconscious obsession with chocolate and peanut butter. You can see it with these recipes: peanut butter balls, peanut butter bars, peanut butter fudge bars, pecan-oreo fudge bars, and peanut butter chocolate surprise.
And that’s just a few.
Chocolate and peanut butter is just the perfect marriage and apparently I can’t stop thinking about it. This recipe comes from a family cookbook my aunt put together some 15 years ago. It took me until last week to notice it was even there, let alone make it. In fact, I was so excited about this discovery that I took a picture of the bars cooling and sent it to my sisters and parents, with the following conversation:
Me: I made these tonight. Don’t think they’ll last through tomorrow.
Mom: Wow! Those look amazing. Save me some!
Me: Well, actually I can’t. It’s for coworkers. Also, you can make them. The recipe is in the family cookbook.
Youngest Sister: What, these are?!?
Me: Yes, page 40.
Younger Sister: I was just at your house yesterday. How come you didn’t make these then?
Me: Mom brought over strawberry shortcake.
Younger Sister: What’s wrong with two desserts?
She had a point. I clearly wasn’t thinking straight. Usually, when I think about food, I think about desserts. (That’s why I train for half marathons, so I can eat desserts.)
These bars are super easy to make. I think the hardest thing will be waiting for them to fully cool before eating. Because, if you try to take them out of the pan too early, you know, just to make sure they taste alright, it’ll be all crumbly and won’t stick like a bar cookie should. (You’re welcome for that tid-bit.) Exercise a bit of patience and you will be greatly rewarded. Enjoy! xoxo
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 2 dozen 3-inch squares
2 c rolled oats
1 ¾ c packed brown sugar
1 c flour
½ c whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 t espresso powder
½ t salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
½ c peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 c chocolate chips
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
⅓ c creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, gently combine the oats, brown sugar, both flours, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Cut the cold butter into large cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the cubes of butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the peanuts.
In a large bowl, measure out 1 ¾ c (loosely filled, not packed) of the mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. Set aside.
With the remaining crumb mixture, add the beaten egg. Press into an ungreased jelly roll pan, measuring 15x10x1. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are a golden brown.
While the crust bakes, in a small bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.
When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the peanut butter mixture over the hot crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chip mixture evenly over the peanut butter. Put back in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes more. Cool on wire rack completely before cutting in bars and serving.
Source: slightly adapted from my Aunt Kathy